72 years old, need recommendations

MsKathleen

New Member
Region
USA
I do not know ANYTHING about bicycles, except how to ride an old fashioned one. I am looking for recommendations for an electric bike, which I could use to get smallish amounts of groceries, that can take hills, and possibly dirt/gravel roads. Am thinking about full-time RVing and want to be able to be mobile without a vehicle. I am 72 years old, weigh 150, and am reasonably fit...can walk 8 or more miles in one session on flat ground with no worries, can adjust to mountain elevations, but it takes a day or two. As my knees are somewhat arthritic, I don’t do hills very well. Either a bicycle or tricycle would be okay with me, but like the idea of a tricycle better. One with a fair amount of range seems like the best idea, as camping grounds can be a bit distant from fair-sized markets. Perhaps something that is “street legal”? Your recommendations would be greatly appreciated.
 

AlanDB

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Iowa
Bicycle would be much easier to transport than a trike. The best thing you could do is find a local bike shop that has some ebikes in stock and do some test rides. That will help you narrow down what you like/don't like in ebike styles and features. A couple of the main decisions will be mid-drive vs hub drive and whether or not you need a throttle.
 

MsKathleen

New Member
Region
USA
I live in a remote, low socio-economic small town in southwestern-most Arizona. The “bike shop” woukd irderc2hat I want, but doesn’t stock these bikes. As for transport, I can get the wide rear platform bumper, like what people get for their electric wheelchairs, so transport is the least of my concerns. I already said I know nothing, so “mid-drive vs hub drive“ and “throttle“ mean nothing to me. So, thanks for all your help and recommendations.
 

AlanDB

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Iowa
My wife who is 76 has the Evelo Compass e-trike which she likes very much (https://evelo.com/products/compass). With 2 batterries installed, it weighs about 90 pounds.

She started with a 2 wheel Blix Aveny ebike which she also liked, but developed some health problems after a couple of years which gave her some balance issues on the ebike. So we switched her to the Compass trike. If you are used to riding a bicycle, the trike takes some getting used to and they do tip over quite easily if you take corners too fast.
 

Art Deco

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Selinsgrove Pennsylvania
I do not know ANYTHING about bicycles, except how to ride an old fashioned one. I am looking for recommendations for an electric bike, which I could use to get smallish amounts of groceries, that can take hills, and possibly dirt/gravel roads. Am thinking about full-time RVing and want to be able to be mobile without a vehicle. I am 72 years old, weigh 150, and am reasonably fit...can walk 8 or more miles in one session on flat ground with no worries, can adjust to mountain elevations, but it takes a day or two. As my knees are somewhat arthritic, I don’t do hills very well. Either a bicycle or tricycle would be okay with me, but like the idea of a tricycle better. One with a fair amount of range seems like the best idea, as camping grounds can be a bit distant from fair-sized markets. Perhaps something that is “street legal”? Your recommendations would be greatly appreciated.
Good trikes are uncommonly expensive, so are often for people with a disability beyond the one we all face ...age. Grin.
I would be more concerned about hanging an electric trike on the back of a motor home than a regular ebike . Both need some protection from theft and the elements, but trikes are quite large.
If you can ride a two wheeler, it will simplify your life a bit.
 

indianajo

Well-Known Member
Your body size & leg size matters when suggesting a bicycle. I put together a nice list for a lady 62" tall that might be completely wrong for you: https://electricbikereview.com/forums/threads/help-please-my-brain-is-on-overload.42851/unread
Do you want to sit straight up or hunch over the bars like an olympian? Is touching the ground with both toes okay or do you need flat feet to feel secure? Are you going to climb 1000' mountains in an hour? or just rolling hills without a lot of rise? How much groceries? 20 lb? 60 lb like me? How fast? up to 15 mph no suspension required, >20 suspension required, which costs $500-1000.
1000' mountains in an hour require a mid-drive, which cost more than a hub drive, wear out chains faster, and strand you if you break a chain or the battery goes dead . Mid drives are easier to buy with torque sense which feels very natural, but there are hub drive bikes now that have it. PAS is cheap. PAS is jerky, often has a minimum speed of 11 to 14 mph, and can cut in while U-turning which is dangerous.
How many miles you going to ride in a year? Some bikes wear out fast, others cost more and go years without much but tires & tubes.
How much time in National Parks or city parks that don't allow throttles? Some parks allow throttles on road, but not on bike paths. A throttle is a device that you twist or push with your thumb to make the bike go a certain power without pedaling. I require one as my Army damaged knees sometimes lock up entirely. You may be more flexible about always having to pedal to get power assitance.
I'm 70 +11/12ths, and don't feel the temptation for a 3 wheeler yet. I'm also okay with falling off, as long as I'm wearing polyester dickies and a helmet with chin guard. Doesn't hurt that much except if I strike the chin. 3 wheeler with two back wheels tend to fall over if turned too fast. 3 wheelers with two tipping front tires are safer, and cost ~$5000 up.
Really unless you are an accomplished mechanic, a run up to Tuscon or Phoenix to try out Trek & Pedego models would be very instructive. They are not cheap, and don't have a lot of problems reported to this website. The dealers are everywhere, if you are going to be out in an RV and need warrenty service. A lot of home delivery models, you are the repair department unless you live somewhere that velofix will come to your home (I don't).
 
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Merle Nelson

Active Member
Region
USA
I live in a remote, low socio-economic small town in southwestern-most Arizona. The “bike shop” woukd irderc2hat I want, but doesn’t stock these bikes. As for transport, I can get the wide rear platform bumper, like what people get for their electric wheelchairs, so transport is the least of my concerns. I already said I know nothing, so “mid-drive vs hub drive“ and “throttle“ mean nothing to me. So, thanks for all your help and recommendations.
Welcome to EBR MsKathleen. There is a world of help here at your finger tips in my estimation. We all express things differently.

I would say that you need to be patient with a little "lingo/jargon" that is germane to your purchase if you would like the best chance of buying the right bike for you the first time. Google is a quick solution for any of the jargon if you want.

Rather than there being an answer to your query I would say there are tens or hundreds of answers right now. So even when people help to narrow it down there is still lots of choice involved.

It always strikes me in my field (I'm an arborist) that if a person can tell me what they want I can tell them how to get it. So maybe narrow down things with more of what you want the bike to do for you, be like, cost, etc.
 

Luto

Active Member
30-40 miles is typical range with full assist or near full assist. But you got to recharge after that. So consider how you will recharge. RV site is a plug in?

If you want a lighter bike (<45#) and reasonable quality, it will be more expensive (> 2.5-3K)

Try to stick to a name brand so you can get service on the road while RV'ing.

Lastly, just go try some out. Make an appointment at a shop in a big city and make the trip. Gazelle, makes good mid range bikes. It is what my dealer sells to people who just want to get a bike and ride at a reasonable price point. Best of luck.
 

Art Deco

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Selinsgrove Pennsylvania
A recent trike thread on EBR. There are more ,
 

Lar

Well-Known Member
Budget?

Was thinking something with an added sidecar might be a good start.

Probably not a lot of options at this time.
 

Elkman

Member
The commuter type or urban bicycles have front and rear fenders and most have a sturdy rear rack that will support bags of groceries. Options for baskets on top of the rear rack or attached to the sides. You want to avoid having anything in the front of the bike. With an RV there is a limited number of racks that are "RV certified" and this includes ones from Yakima, Swagman, 1up, Hollywood, and Thule. Yakima, Thule, and 1up have ramps that make it much easier to load a 60 lb e-bike.

Step-thru bikes like the Rad Rover make it a lot easier to get off the bike when you do have groceries on the rear of the bike. The commuter type will also have front and rear lights for added safety. What differentiates the general purpose bikes is whether they have direct drive and basically a 1-speed and those that have gears which help when getting up a hill.

It helps if there is a local bike shop that can help troubleshoot any problems but currently most are selling and servicing only the $4,000 and pricier bikes unless you are in a major city where e-bike are used for delivery services.

E-bike technology is also improving year to year and for example the new motors from Bosch are reportedly 20% more powerful and go 25% further on a battery charge. Some of this may be hype but at the same time a $3,000 bike in 2022 may outperform a $4,000 bike bought today. The less expensive e-bikes are in very short supply which is another consideration. Same problem with e-bike racks which have been out of stock for months for the ones that can handle heavier bikes. But more options for carrying around a single e-bike regardless of its weight.

I would be wary of a tricycle unless you plan on using it only on flat ground. Going downhill it is easy to oversteer and flip the trike. Not a good choice for use on an RV although it is possible.
 
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BET

Active Member
Chosing a bike is a very individual choice. A lot depends on size, use, what you are willing to pay, etc. If you can it would be best to try riding some - rental or bike shop but you seem to have neither close by. My suggestion is a popular e bike, very versatile and fairly inexpensive --the Lectric xp step thru 2.0. It folds so is popular with RV owners. Lots of reviews on line. The step thru is approachable, adjustable and easy to get on and off. Good on paved or unpaved surfaces. Comes with 20 inch tires, fenders, lights and a sturdy back rack that can easily be used to transport food, supplies etc. with addition of bags or baskets. It is sturdy, shifts, name brand components, good motor goes up to 20 mph and can go faster if you choose to adjust top speed using the display. Can go slowly in PAS 1 or 2, as slowly as 8 mph, has a throttle which is important to me when starting off from intersections, stop signs, etc. , decent range. Good customer service. It is inexpensive as e bikes go at $999. It does weigh around 60 - 65 lbs, but then again my lighter e-bikes are 55 lbs. My daughter is 5'4" and less than 150 lbs. and she has no problem handling it. It is not the fanciest but good bang for your buck and would meet your needs I think. The new 2021 2.0 version has several improvements over the original 2018-2020 versions. Shipping is free. Most e bike orders take a while now due to delays in shipping and congestion at the ports. Some people like Rad bikes but I think you pay more for less with Rad.
 

sc00ter

Active Member
I have a Rad Runner 1, its cheap and cheerful and so far pretty reliable. Have around 2300 miles on it. My wifes sister helped us with some work on our house and I got her a Rad Mini Step-Thru. She's in her early 70s, on the shorter side and rides it whenever she can. I got her the aftermarket Topeak plate and their Trolleytote. Now my wife, mid-60s, is trike savvy, having owned a few triked motorcycles and now a triked scooter. Trike ebikes are very useful. Only issues are a place to store it, sometimes to wide for sidewalks and acceleration from a stop if crossing a busy street. To much power will cause the front wheel to burn-out. A rear wheel drive tadpole style ebike is a slightly better option for some, but the low to the ground seating can make you feel vulnerable in traffic.
 

MsKathleen

New Member
Region
USA
Your body size & leg size matters when suggesting a bicycle. I put together a nice list for a lady 62" tall that might be completely wrong for you: https://electricbikereview.com/forums/threads/help-please-my-brain-is-on-overload.42851/unread
Do you want to sit straight up or hunch over the bars like an olympian? Is touching the ground with both toes okay or do you need flat feet to feel secure? Are you going to climb 1000' mountains in an hour? or just rolling hills without a lot of rise? How much groceries? 20 lb? 60 lb like me? How fast? up to 15 mph no suspension required, >20 suspension required, which costs $500-1000.
1000' mountains in an hour require a mid-drive, which cost more than a hub drive, wear out chains faster, and strand you if you break a chain or the battery goes dead . Mid drives are easier to buy with torque sense which feels very natural, but there are hub drive bikes now that have it. PAS is cheap. PAS is jerky, often has a minimum speed of 11 to 14 mph, and can cut in while U-turning which is dangerous.
How many miles you going to ride in a year? Some bikes wear out fast, others cost more and go years without much but tires & tubes.
How much time in National Parks or city parks that don't allow throttles? Some parks allow throttles on road, but not on bike paths. A throttle is a device that you twist or push with your thumb to make the bike go a certain power without pedaling. I require one as my Army damaged knees sometimes lock up entirely. You may be more flexible about always having to pedal to get power assitance.
I'm 70 +11/12ths, and don't feel the temptation for a 3 wheeler yet. I'm also okay with falling off, as long as I'm wearing polyester dickies and a helmet with chin guard. Doesn't hurt that much except if I strike the chin. 3 wheeler with two back wheels tend to fall over if turned too fast. 3 wheelers with two tipping front tires are safer, and cost ~$5000 up.
Really unless you are an accomplished mechanic, a run up to Tuscon or Phoenix to try out Trek & Pedego models would be very instructive. They are not cheap, and don't have a lot of problems reported to this website. The dealers are everywhere, if you are going to be out in an RV and need warrenty service. A lot of home delivery models, you are the repair department unless you live somewhere that velofix will come to your home (I don't).
Your response is very informative and thought -provoking. I will review your link, as I am 63”. If you can suggest a trustworthy shop in either location, I will go, but I am not going to just run into any bike shop, because too many places try to cheat little old ladies like me. That is why I came here first. Research helps weed out the jerks.
 

MsKathleen

New Member
Region
USA
Chosing a bike is a very individual choice. A lot depends on size, use, what you are willing to pay, etc. If you can it would be best to try riding some - rental or bike shop but you seem to have neither close by. My suggestion is a popular e bike, very versatile and fairly inexpensive --the Lectric xp step thru 2.0. It folds so is popular with RV owners. Lots of reviews on line. The step thru is approachable, adjustable and easy to get on and off. Good on paved or unpaved surfaces. Comes with 20 inch tires, fenders, lights and a sturdy back rack that can easily be used to transport food, supplies etc. with addition of bags or baskets. It is sturdy, shifts, name brand components, good motor goes up to 20 mph and can go faster if you choose to adjust top speed using the display. Can go slowly in PAS 1 or 2, as slowly as 8 mph, has a throttle which is important to me when starting off from intersections, stop signs, etc. , decent range. Good customer service. It is inexpensive as e bikes go at $999. It does weigh around 60 - 65 lbs, but then again my lighter e-bikes are 55 lbs. My daughter is 5'4" and less than 150 lbs. and she has no problem handling it. It is not the fanciest but good bang for your buck and would meet your needs I think. The new 2021 2.0 version has several improvements over the original 2018-2020 versions. Shipping is free. Most e bike orders take a while now due to delays in shipping and congestion at the ports. Some people like Rad bikes but I think you pay more for less with Rad.
Thank you for your comprehensive response. I will definitely check out the Lectric.
 

MsKathleen

New Member
Region
USA
I have a Rad Runner 1, its cheap and cheerful and so far pretty reliable. Have around 2300 miles on it. My wifes sister helped us with some work on our house and I got her a Rad Mini Step-Thru. She's in her early 70s, on the shorter side and rides it whenever she can. I got her the aftermarket Topeak plate and their Trolleytote. Now my wife, mid-60s, is trike savvy, having owned a few triked motorcycles and now a triked scooter. Trike ebikes are very useful. Only issues are a place to store it, sometimes to wide for sidewalks and acceleration from a stop if crossing a busy street. To much power will cause the front wheel to burn-out. A rear wheel drive tadpole style ebike is a slightly better option for some, but the low to the ground seating can make you feel vulnerable in traffic.
Thank you for you excellent input.
 

MsKathleen

New Member
Region
USA
The commuter type or urban bicycles have front and rear fenders and most have a sturdy rear rack that will support bags of groceries. Options for baskets on top of the rear rack or attached to the sides. You want to avoid having anything in the front of the bike. With an RV there is a limited number of racks that are "RV certified" and this includes ones from Yakima, Swagman, 1up, Hollywood, and Thule. Yakima, Thule, and 1up have ramps that make it much easier to load a 60 lb e-bike.

Step-thru bikes like the Rad Rover make it a lot easier to get off the bike when you do have groceries on the rear of the bike. The commuter type will also have front and rear lights for added safety. What differentiates the general purpose bikes is whether they have direct drive and basically a 1-speed and those that have gears which help when getting up a hill.

It helps if there is a local bike shop that can help troubleshoot any problems but currently most are selling and servicing only the $4,000 and pricier bikes unless you are in a major city where e-bike are used for delivery services.

E-bike technology is also improving year to year and for example the new motors from Bosch are reportedly 20% more powerful and go 25% further on a battery charge. Some of this may be hype but at the same time a $3,000 bike in 2022 may outperform a $4,000 bike bought today. The less expensive e-bikes are in very short supply which is another consideration. Same problem with e-bike racks which have been out of stock for months for the ones that can handle heavier bikes. But more options for carrying around a single e-bike regardless of its weight.

I would be wary of a tricycle unless you plan on using it only on flat ground. Going downhill it is easy to oversteer and flip the trike. Not a good choice for use on an RV although it is possible.
These points were important and useful. Thank you for responding. I am convinced that a “commuter” type bicycle is what I need to research further.
 

Mr. Coffee

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
A Demented Corner of the North Cascades
My $0.02:

Find a good bike shop in a city nearby (probably Yuma or Tucson) and start up a relationship with them. If they can arrange for you to try an e-bike or two that would help you narrow down your choices. There are probably lots of bikes that will work great for you.

Given what you've said about your knowledge of bikes, you probably aren't going to be able to work on derailleurs or disc brakes so I'd recommend getting a name brand bike with a dealer network so as you travel you can have the bike worked on as you need it -- both basic maintenance, any enhancements you decide you'll need, and fixing whatever breaks (and stuff will break). Another argument for going through a dealer is that given what you want to use the bike for, you'll probably want a rear rack and possibly a front basket -- and getting those things right is more likely to happen if you work through a dealer.

No matter what you budget on a bike, expect to spend at least $500 on accessories: a decent helmet, a bike lock, some bike bags, and some basic tools can add up quickly. When you are traveling in your RV I'd also recommend bringing a floor pump or a small air compressor (personally I prefer a floor pump).

Also work with your bike shop so you can at least master emergency field repairs like fixing a flat tire. And basic maintenance like cleaning and oiling your bike chain. They should be happy to teach you.

Edit:

I'm going to add that it seems from your description that you are reasonably active and fit. From that I'd conclude that you'll be happier on a decent e-bike from Trek or Specialized.
 
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