60mi Round Trip Commute with Elevation

far2canadian

New Member
After almost submitting to my crushing Los Angeles car-commute, I've realized that an eBike might be a solution to many woes. I've spent hours doing research, but with the breadth of options, I'm not sure I'm taking everything into consideration. Seeking help from those with more experience...here's where I'm at:

My current daily commute (in car) is 50 or so miles (roundtrip) from the San Fernando Valley to the LAX area (taking the 101 to the 405, for those who know). It's about 1.5 hours each way and I average 16-20mph in the car - which is abysmal. I spend about $290 a month on fuel and maintenance, averaged annually. The amount of money I could save by not driving is motivation enough, but I also want to stop pumping CO2 into the air, and more daily exercise is all the better.

If I begin commuting on a bike, my route would be challenging as there's a mountain range in the way (taking Topanga Canyon to PCH). It would look something like:
From home to office: 30 miles, with a 600ft elevation gain over first 2 miles (steep grade), then a drop of 1,200ft over 10 miles (easy downgrade - pretty as heck too) to the coast. The next 18 miles would be flat, trafficky, and with only a few stop lights.
From office to home: 30 miles return, flat for the first 18 miles, but with that 1,200ft elevation gain afterwards- easy grade, but sustained for 10 miles.

I'm not a cyclist, and so I expect the first weeks to be tough (or, utter agony!), but I am fairly upper-body fit from other activities. I'm 6'2" and about 135lbs.

I'm trying to keep my budget under $3K(ish), so I can recoup the investment within a year of not driving. My current, serious considerations are the:
- Juiced Cross Current X
- Yamaha Cross Connect

Juiced CCX thoughts:
- Good price, which would allow me to invest in other gear
- High capacity battery to easily make each trip with lots of power to spare
- Thumb throttle for when that mountain starts to beat me (maybe I'll only care in the early days)
- Nice 28mph top speed and lots of power to get me off the line at stop lights (I've ridden motorcycles all my life, and so I feel some safety in being ahead)
- Longer battery life, but also longer charge time while I'm at work.
- But, it's heavy! at 65 lbs (maybe that's a good thing for balance at speed?)
- I'm starting to understand that a hub motor might not be the best choice for hills?

Yamaha Cross Connect thoughts:
- Much lighter at 49 lbs
- Mid-drive is supposed to be better for those inclines?
- Peddle assist only (maybe just my anxiety for those first few weeks of riding)
- 3yr warranty can't hurt
- Slower (?) top speed of 20mph with assist -- but hey, still pretty quick and in line with my current speed in the car!

I'm sure there's other options, like the Haibike Trekking 2.0, but the Juiced and the Yamaha have been the ones that have turned my head so far. Am I missing any other bikes that would meet my needs?

I've been stalking posts here in the forum for days, specifically case similar to mine (@Chris Hammond), so I'd love to get your advice on my best options. I'm interested in finding a good solution to my current life-sucking commute, and am willing to invest, but I want to make a good, long term choice!

Thanks in advance.
 

far2canadian

New Member
This is a duplicate and can be ignored. Active thread here:
 

Marci jo

Well-Known Member
Wow that’s a fabulous commute considering the distance and climb; on a bike but not a car! Congrats on trying to ditch your car.

Just some ideas off the top of my head:
Is it possible to rent an ebike for a few days in your area? You could get a better idea of your specific needs and what ebike would fit those needs. Maybe do a “practice” commute on your off day?

Do you need the support of a local bike shop or can you go it mostly alone with maintenance (meaning an online order)?

I love my Vado speed pedelec. With a 600wh battery and 90nm of torque it’s got great range and acceleration. Unfortunately does not fit your budget.

Don’t forget to budget for accessories:
- Good fitting helmet
- Bright lights. These are for you to be seen by other drivers. You will be going faster than they anticipate and they tend to underestimate your speed. Many ebikes already come with lights.
- A good mirror. Makes a big difference when watching for traffic.
- An extra charger to keep at work? Depends on your size battery.
- A suspension seat post. This by far the absolute best accessory I’ve purchased. Really really smooths out the bumps from our not-so-great infrastructure.

OK, I’m excited for you. Can’t wait to see what you find! Please post a photo.
 

Ravi Kempaiah

Well-Known Member
@rich c and @Johnny were right!

At your budget limit, most quality mid-drives are out. These are electric assist bikes, meant for assisting. 30 miles each way on these assist bikes, every morning, evening , day in day out would be quite a workout.
You may do M-W-F or T-T or something like that.
  1. To be able to do 30 miles each leg within 1hr 30 mins in traffic, needs at least 650whr battery. If you want to do it with 500whr, you are looking for a serious work out and close to 1hr 45 mins every morning and evening. Biking in traffic is more stressful than biking on MUP trails. 3hr 30 mins on a bike everyday gets a little too much if you have a cognitively demanding job. I can't even do 30 mile RT when I have lots of deadlines and meetings.

  2. Most Bosch, shimano or Yamaha mid-drives are out this point. Such a bike would need enormous maintenance for your kind mileage. You would have to get something with 1000whr battery, gates drive and Rohloff to make it a realistic commute time and effort-wise but it will be 3 times your budget.

  3. Finally, you should try to rent couple of bikes and try it out. Juiced CCX may work well. It is much more powerful than most mid-drives but you will have to handy with any maintenance issues.
    @linklemming has multiple bikes and a Juiced CCX. Check his posts.

    if I were you, I would focus on finding a bike-friendly route and start with 2 or 3 days of biking per week.
 

far2canadian

New Member
Thanks, both - I don't know what's happening with the forum, but my previous post (with the majority of the replies) has disappeared and needs "approval before appearing publicly," and now this version has reappeared, which I tried to delete...gremlins. Anyway.

@Ravi - good thoughts. Being pretty fresh at this, I'm curious and a little surprised on the differences of perspective b/w the viability of Yamaha mid-drive, vs. a hub motor like the Juiced CCX. I realize my proposed commute is probably not most people's experience....and that I'm probably crazy, haha. Perhaps what I'm proposing is idealistic and I need to explore other options, like driving/bussing my bike down the coast (skipping the mountain ride) and doing the last 18mi ride on flat sea level, with a mix of bike path and road.

I replied in the other thread that my work week is actually a 9/80 schedule, so I have every other Friday off, and Wednesdays are always from home. So at most, it would be 3-4 days a week, with no more than 2 days in a row.

You guys all have waaay mire experience than me. I totally get that. In terms of a first jump into the pool, part of me is thinking of going with the Juiced CCX, so my remaining budget is open for good safety gear / lights / new saddle / suspension seat post, etc. But, the other part of me realizes that some people think the CCX is unreliable, making than plan foolish....I'm not scared of maintenance. (I grew up on a farm in Canada, now have a capable wood shop in my garage, and DIY *everything* I reasonably can). I love working with my hands and I'm fairly obsessive when learning new things

With the mix of reactions I'm getting here, it seems wise to drive/bus the bike over the mountain, park on the coast and ride the remaining 18mi, at least to start. Would the Juiced CCX be able to handle that, or am I still overshooting? I am open to other bikes, but if I'm looking at $6K+, I might as well start looking at used electric motorcycles....my goal is still to ditch burning fuel for both financial and environmental reasons.