6' 6"; 215 lbs; Budget: $3500; Bike path cruising

Cory Spackman

New Member
(Thanks to Drock for the message format used for this post!)
About Me
  • Male
  • 6'6"
  • 215 lbs
  • Sun Valley, ID
  • Semi active, living with Muscular Dystrophy
  • Bike path: Smooth, beautiful trails (ex-railroad tracks), a few easy grade hills
  • Price up to $3,500
  • Use: Spring and Summer cruising; Grocery store trips
  • Bike: Something I can fit on; Pedal assist; Throttle
My Situation
  • Spring and Summer here in the Rocky Mountains are pretty amazing. Dramatic mountain backdrops, riverside bike path trails, and wide highway shoulders makes for some fantastic bike riding. Unfortunately, some time ago, I gave up bike riding due to some advanced leg problems (weak quads and hamstrings). I'm able to ride standard bikes OK, but can only use the lowest gears possibly. Just recently, I was turned onto electric bikes as a possible option to help get me back out there, cruising the roads. I'd prefer to find a bike that can be used for all sorts of things -- shopping, minor off-roading (nothing serious), commuting.
My Research

I spent some time today combing over loads of videos and electric reviews (many of them on this site). It would seem that the following might be good options for me:
It would seem that the Pedego Interceptor II might be a good option too, but I confess, I'm not thrilled with the look of that model. Looks aside, my biggest concern is finding something that actually fits.

My Questions/Asks
  • I was hoping that some experienced e-bike riders could recommend some makes and models, as well as accessories that might be appropriate to make the ride more comfortable for a tall guy.
  • I'd imagine that e-bike components (batteries, motors, electronic interfaces) become outdated pretty quickly, year over year. Should I be looking out for models that can be upgraded somehow?
  • Chain-rings: I'm guessing that I should be sure to get something with at least 3 chain-rings, in case I run out of juice, and need to pedal on my own. With my weak legs, I'm guessing that would be an important feature.

Much appreciated!

Cory
 

Vern

Active Member
You have narrowed it down to some great choices. I'm sure that Court and Chris will chime in with more specific recommendations based on your requirements and desires, but hopefully you can get to a dealer and try them out for yourself. Don't count out the Interceptor II. It is actually pretty large and may fit you well. I rented one of these at the beach and it was really fun. It is very smooth and powerful. I must admit I couldn't see myself owning one either, BUT after riding it, you may be surprised how much you like it!!
 

Court

Administrator
Staff member
Completely agree with Vern, the Interceptor II (and really any of the Pedego bikes) didn't appeal to me at first based on the look and battery placement but they feel solid, ride very smooth, have great support and ultimately work well as ebikes.

The Interceptor II has pedal assist and throttle but uses a wider cruiser seat and handle bars. Another Pedego that is a bit more enjoyable to pedal, in my opinion, is the City Commuter which has a narrower seat and bars but still includes assist and throttle mode. Both bikes have 7 speeds so that will help you climb and both are rather large (the high step version of the City Commuter) to fit your body properly.

Even though the Neo Cross comes in a large size, the frame doesn't feel as large as the Pedego bikes. That said, it's better balanced, lighter weight and has the look you may prefer. With the front suspension it will feel alright when riding but its narrower tires won't absorb bumps the way a cruiser will... though you could always add larger tires if you wanted.

Considering the amount of money being spent on something like this it's always good to take a test ride or rent the bikes for an afternoon like Vern talked about. I always consider the brands carried by my local shop (even if they weren't in my shortlist) because the help with repairs and warranty issues can become invaluable if/when problems crop up.

Really any of the bikes you listed could work and with a bit of accessorizing could be made to fit you decently (different stem, seat position, different bars) but it's nice to start with something that is close and feels right. I tend to appreciate the look of a bike as well... and the balance, so don't rule that out. Trust your gut but also try the bikes because it might change your perception :)
 

Court

Administrator
Staff member
Hi Cory, I did some reading on Muscular Dystrophy and wanted to share one more thought. I'm not too familiar with your condition but it sounds like it impacts the strength of your muscles and this got me thinking... The Easy Motion Neo bikes and Stromer bikes rely on a torque sensor to activate the motor and this means you need to actively push when you pedal vs. simply keeping a weak cadence. Of course, you can always use the twist throttle on the Neo bikes but then what's the use of having assist?

My advice to you (depending on how actively you plan to pedal) is to recognize that the cadence sensor used on the Pedego ebikes and the torque + speed + cadence sensor on the IZIP Dash might fit well with your physical aptitude. The more I think about it, the Interceptor II and City Commuter high-step seem like great solutions. Between those two there is the style difference and the more active orientation and seat of the City Commuter (which is a bike I bought and used for commuting successfully for several months last year).

Hope this helps!
 

Cory Spackman

New Member
Thanks so much, Vern and Court! I really appreciate your thoughts and advice here! What do you fellas think about Haibike? I spent several hours this morning researching their models, and was thrilled to discover they have a lot of large from bikes (from 21.6" to 24.4"). Check out this comparison doc I've started putting together (if you like):

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1IYvIVYNQVxJq2Ei2caK6Ye6w6OHDzmhJ2jYoS4pIosI/edit#gid=0

Though I still haven't looked at the range of those models or the pricing, their bikes have a lot of quality components, and just a ton of models out there (for tall guys). I'm really liking the Trekking series. I've also heard that Giant just came out with a 2014 line of full suspension e-bikes, but I haven't started doing any comparisons there. Any thoughts on those makers and models?

Giant Full-E+ 1:
 

Court

Administrator
Staff member
Hey Cory, I'm a big fan of Haibike and the Trekking looks sweet. Both it and the Giant Full E+ model use great middrive systems but I don't think they have a throttle mode so keep that in mind. The full range of sizes on the Haibike models is awesome but I know the prices can also be much higher (though very close to your range for the Trekking).

That Google Doc is pretty sweet! Once you decide on a ride I'd love to have you export it in .xls or .pdf format and attach here to your post to help future shoppers. Great work on that thing!
 

Cory Spackman

New Member
Hey Court -- Thanks again for the recommendations. I've come to terms with the fact that I may very well need that on-demand throttle, with my medical conditions. I truly wish the Haibike Trekker series had it, but, oh well. As it turns out, I really like Pedego's "City Commuter", but the 20" frame is pretty darn small for me. I think I'd be able to add a 3 or 4 inch t-section extension, and a longer seat rod, but I wonder if the crankset size and the resultant pedaling would be too funky for that. I thought I'd call Pedego to see if they had any un-advirtised larger frames sizes available (probably not, but worth a shot). Attached is a PDF version of my e-Bike comparisons. Feel free to distribute. I can send you an Excel version too, if you'd like to update it -- I did my best in collating the specs I could find, but there are probably some inadvertant fallacies in there.
 

Attachments

  • eBike Comparison - Side-by-Side.pdf
    56.8 KB · Views: 185

Ravi Kempaiah

Well-Known Member
Awesome compilation Cory..!!

Given your height, you might want to test ride at least few of the shortlisted models before you buy. Last year, when I first started my search, I had a similar data library for comparison. A lot of my perception changed once I test rode couple of models. Even at 6'0",I could find that many "M" sized bikes felt cramped or as one of our members put it elegantly, like a circus bear on a tiny motorcycle.
Anyway, ebiking near Rockies = heaven ..!!
Have you tried renting any of the models? or any dealers nearby?
 

Court

Administrator
Staff member
Thanks Cory! Have you visited Pete's Electric Bikes in Boulder or the Small Planet E-Vehicles shop in Longmont (this shop has lots of brands including Pedego). With a bit of modification I think the high-step City Commuter could work but I agree that it's a bummer Haibike doesn't offer throttle or the decision would be easy ;)
 

Cory Spackman

New Member
Hey Everybody -- Just wanted to close the loop on this thread and let you know I pulled the trigger and bought a 2014 Kalkhoff Agattu i8, from The New Wheel bike shop in San Francisco. The bike has a lot going for it, and I think it will be a good match for my needs. Thanks for everyone's input, recommendations, and advice. Without it, I would have been lost! Also, I wanted to call out that The New Wheel shop owner, Brett, has been fantastic to work with. I'm one of those, kind of annoying customers, that asks loads and loads of questions -- and Brett took all of that in stride. I'm really enjoying my experience working with them. Keep that in mind if you're looking to pick up an e-Bike for yourself, and are looking for good retailers.
 

Court

Administrator
Staff member
Awesome! That's a great bike Cory and I'm glad Brett was able to help you... Thanks for chiming in about what you finally decided to get. The New Wheel is an awesome shop with a solid warranty and one of the few carrying Kalkhoff ebikes in the US (though I think more will follow suit).