A Road-Cyclist Thoughts On E-Bikes

tbar23

Member
Some really interesting view points here. I am also finding it difficult to find exactly what I want despite the enormous range and breadth of ebikes available. As some of you have seen, I’m looking for a bike to use as a fast commuter, and many of my wishlist items are echoed here.
Frankly, the Domane+ HP is quite close to what I’d like, but $7k is an awful lot to plunk down! Also need to research whether it can take fenders and rack.
I actually came upon this thread searching EBR for more info on Domane+!
 

Chancelucky2

Active Member
The trek crossrip plus is discontinued, but they pop up used from time to time for around 2.4 k. It comes with rack and fenders. BULLS makes something similar and there's also the yamaha civante. All are drop bars class 3 and take a rack.
 

Ebiker01

Well-Known Member
Some really interesting view points here. I am also finding it difficult to find exactly what I want despite the enormous range and breadth of ebikes available. As some of you have seen, I’m looking for a bike to use as a fast commuter, and many of my wishlist items are echoed here.
Frankly, the Domane+ HP is quite close to what I’d like, but $7k is an awful lot to plunk down! Also need to research whether it can take fenders and rack.
I actually came upon this thread searching EBR for more info on Domane+!
I wrote a few topics about it. Besides the Domane +HP, BMC AMP ONE is also v. good choice. I would say it's better b/c it has the Shimano E8000 motor , it can go 32-33mph delimited.
 

TForan

Well-Known Member
AT 73 and 69 my wife and I are die hard road cyclists, with a couple of carbon fiber clip in road bikes. We purchased two Canondale ebikes a year and a half ago and although we enjoy riding them, it is hard to find time for them and the road bikes as well. People will say, "you can get just as good of a workout on an ebike by turning the assist level down" but it's not the same. There's also something about being under your own power on an ultra light, fast road bike. Ebikes can be thrilling but not in the same way.

And any kind of bike riding is a rather limited exercise. Basically aerobics and legs. That's why you see so many bike riders with little upper body. It's better than nothing but you still have to lift those weights. And I don't understand why e-bikes are different than regular road bikes for exercise. Isn't it just rotation and resistance ? My fat tire bike feels like you are pedaling in wet cement with the assist turned off..,which I never do.
 
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WattsUpDude

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
San Francisco, Bay Area
Yes. The main problem with most ebikes (even e-road bikes) is that they DON'T feel normal when the motor is off. They feel sluggish and heavy. This is okay for when you want to go real slow, but not when you just want to ride semi-normally. You want a minimum assist mode that only just compensates for the weight, but also assists me up to the speed I might normally ride (which is higher than 20 mph). It is quite nice to have a bike that rides well unpowered, but that's not the point here.

This is an issue that can be solved with a Speedbox tuner if you have a compatible bike. You can leave it on a lower level assist and the Speedbox will still allow the motor to assist up to the limits of your gearing or legs.
 

Buckeye Biker

New Member
Since I got my ebike I've been riding almost every day, even sometimes when I'm really tired after work. It's even got me wanting to get out my Trek city non ebike. Almost always in assist 1, but it's nice knowing that if I get tired or just want to get home quickly, I can go to assist 3 or whatever and just jet. A bike that makes me want to ride it is way better than a bike I rarely ride.

I have tried my ebike a few times at assist zero, and I wouldn't want to ride it that way for very long. Even in a low gear it feels like you're dragging an anvil.
 

Roxlimn

Member
And any kind of bike riding is a rather limited exercise. Basically aerobics and legs. That's why you see so many bike riders with little upper body. It's better than nothing but you still have to lift those weights. And I don't understand why e-bikes are different than regular road bikes for exercise. Isn't it just rotation and resistance ? My fat tire bike feels like you are pedaling in wet cement with the assist turned off..,which I never do.

Well, lifting an EMTB around the shed for maintenance is still hefting 50 or so odd pounds onto a workstand and all around. ;) That's certainly more than typical cyclists need to handle around the shed. I do agree that there's really not much difference in terms of exercise between a regular bike and an ebike. If anything, the ebike is more versatile because you can opt to make the bike as light or as heavy as you need.
 

6zfshdb

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Northeast Pennsylvania
There have been many excellent points made here. They demonstrate the diversity of thought in the cycling community. My philosophy is, anything that gets you off the couch and out on 2 wheels is OK in my book.

To sum up our experience, my wife and I live in the Pocono Mountains and our local trails all have a semi rough surface with considerable slope. Neither of us feels comfortable riding on roads due to their poor condition and relatively high accident rate.

In our younger years, we enjoyed riding our conventional MTB's and the trail conditions weren't an issue. It came to the point however where our rides became shorter and the enjoyment faded. Although we still travel to the flatlands to ride our MTB's on level, mostly paved trails, these trips are less frequent than we would like. E-bikes have restored our ability to ride locally with greater frequency and the thrill has indeed returned.
 

mogulskier

Active Member
Yes. The main problem with most ebikes (even e-road bikes) is that they DON'T feel normal when the motor is off. They feel sluggish and heavy. This is okay for when you want to go real slow, but not when you just want to ride semi-normally. You want a minimum assist mode that only just compensates for the weight, but also assists me up to the speed I might normally ride (which is higher than 20 mph). It is quite nice to have a bike that rides well unpowered, but that's not the point here.

True. Ebikes are substantially heavier then their non-electric counterparts. Switch the motor off, and you'll feel it; that is alot of weight to be lugging around town, certainly doable, but range will be very limited. Removing the battery helps alot, but still, heavy nonetheless and not so nimble.

Makes you really appreciate PAS level 1. Everything after is just cake.
 

rdv

New Member
Finding the right electric e-road motor for a limited road rider.

My first choice would be to continue riding my non-motorized road bike. Alas, it has been difficult to do that for the last few months. I start to suffer at a mere 100 beats per minute at the start of a ride, can sustain no more than 110-120 bpm towards the end, and the riding is not enjoyable. Though the legs and brain want to do more, the heart and lungs won't go along. If it cannot be remedied medically I'll move on to an e-bike, which is why I have been educating myself on the options.

My second choice would be a partial assist e-road bike that approximates the look, ride, feel and fit of my current road bike. In early 2021 that narrows the options, aesthetically and functionally, to Ebikemotion X-35, Fuzua Evation and Specialized SL1.1 propelled e-bikes. The system of choice is not a question of which is better (all seem quite good), but which most closely fits my particular needs. Rather than climbing faster at (my former) non-motorized level of effort, my need would be to reduce effort instead.

Senior citizen that I am, keeping the heart rate below the detrimental threshold only allows me to generate 100-125W on a sustained basis, possibly 150W for brief stretches. That calls for compensating assistance on steep climbs (10-15%) that impose slow speeds and cadences, but require substantial power.

Summarized below is my understanding of the three motors' respective response modes and curves. It is grossly assumed that the US plots would adhere to the pattern of the EU curves at the low end of the range, and that although thresholds can be tweaked, the curves as shown remain indicative of the relative levels of response. Pardon the poor graphics control... far from an online wizard.
  • X-35 – Relies on speed to determine the amount of assistance. (The chart is a reconstruction of that EBR member Wilier Trestina obtained from Wilier and posted on the EBR forum.)
1613496963831.png

Given that my climbing speeds can get down to the 4-6 mph (6-10 km/h) at 40-60 rpm, the X35 motor would boost my 125W by 100-175W at peak assistance.
  • Fazua Evation – Relies on cadence and rider power/torque input to determine amount of assistance. The charts were adapted from the Fazua site.
1613497010679.png


1613497038143.png


The Evation motor would boost my input by 150-250W based on cadence, fully 250W based on 100W of input.
  • Specialized SL1.1 – Relies on cadence, and rider power/torque input up to 100% assistance. The information was taken from sites dedicated to Specialized.
1613497161400.png

1613497189656.png


The SL1.1 would boost my 125W with a 100% match of 125W. Stronger riders would take better advantage, up to 240W at 70-100rpm.

The above indicates that e-road bikes that use the Fuzua Evation motor, with its quicker and greater supply of assistance, would work best for me and others stuck in the lower cadence, lower power, lower speed regions of road cycling. The sleeker profiles of the x35 and SL1.1 frames are more appealing, but the necessity for superior low end performance takes precedence. Admittedly, I may not be accounting for some synergistic benefits, not reflected in the curves, that might keep even weaker riders higher up the respective scales. Regardless, any of the three appear to work very well for 200W+, 60+rpm, 15+km/h (uphill) riders.

Posting this with three broad intentions:
  • To provide some information to others who may have similar needs
  • To invite corrections to misinterpretations that make the information more reliable
  • To invite feedback and insights from actual users of these motors, to move the information from the hypothetical/theoretical realm, into the real world.
Thanks to PeterG for his past help, and all you readers for your attention and future help.
 

DouglasB

Active Member
I'm 73 and my wife is 68 we have both been riding road bikes since we were teenagers. We have both done long distance, cross country rides and ride locally when ever the weather permits. A couple of years ago we thought eBikes would be kind of cool so we purchased a couple of Cannondales. They are great bikes and we enjoy the heck out of riding them but what we have found is that if we have a choice between the two, we'll always choose the regular bikes, so we have to plan special trips for the ebikes, otherwise they just sit there collecting dust. I'm not knocking ebikes, it's just hard to find the time to do both.
 

Number126

New Member
Region
USA
  1. Wifes often don't ride together with their husbands because they feel weaker physically. Once the husband bought an e-bike to his wife, he often considers e-bike purchase for himself.
Number 2 is the reason we bought an ebike for my wife. When we rode together she couldn't keep up, so I was always slowing down to ride with her. She used to tell friends that when we ride together the only exercise I got was from lifting our bikes on and off the car. Not anymore! We bought a second ebike, so I can keep up with her now! We’re 75 & 74 and ride together more often now.
 
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Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
Region
Europe
City
Brwinów (PL)
Number 2 is the reason we bought an ebike for my wife. She used to tell friends that when we ride the only exercise I got was from lifting the bikes on and off the car. Not anymore! We bought a second ebike, so I can keep up with her now! We’re 75 & 74 and ride together more often now.
Wow!
 

Dallant

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
My brother and I spoke with road-cyclist Marcin we made friends with on a long and steep mountain ride. Marcin expressed his thoughts on e-bikes:
  1. Many people just can't ride traditional bikes. E-bikes gave them a new life;
  2. Wifes often don't ride together with their husbands because they feel weaker physically. Once the husband bought an e-bike to his wife, he often considers e-bike purchase for himself.
  3. And when someone has spent money that could buy a car instead, it's such a waste not to ride the e-bike! As it is so much fun, e-bikes are ridden more frequently than traditional bikes.
Notice these words were expressed by a road cyclist who might be upset we were overtaking him uphill regularly. Yet the guy was reasonable, pleasant, and thinking. He didn't mind someone else having fun from riding just different type of bike. And he was completely unbiased.

My brother (who actually needs no e-bike but rides them anyway) told me later:
— The whole fun of mountain road-cycling is the downhill ride. Why to suffer on the ascent at all?!

Thoughts?
I care what a road cyclist thinks just as much as they care what I think, though certainly I agree with his 3 points.
 

Dallant

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
Number 2 is the reason we bought an ebike for my wife. She used to tell friends that when we ride the only exercise I got was from lifting the bikes on and off the car. Not anymore! We bought a second ebike, so I can keep up with her now! We’re 75 & 74 and ride together more often now.
I initially bought one to keep up with her on her analog bike but then she was frustrated with my hill-climbing ability so I finally convinced her to get one also. And since she’s nearing retirement, we’re planning longer rides over varying terrain.
 

Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
Region
Europe
City
Brwinów (PL)
A little bit off-topic (I'm the OP anyway).
It looks that e-bike awareness grows in Poland. On my latest shopping ride, I parked my Vado and started locking it to a pole. A man in his 30s approached me and asked a simple, direct question:
-- Does your bike carry a number plate because it can achieve up to 45 km/h?
He knew that! (The question typically asked is: "Why does your bike carry a number plate?")
 

rdv

New Member
RDV, I think if I were you I'd look at a more powerful bike. If you can only sustain a HR of around 100 bpm, going up 10% to 15% grades would seem to call for more power.

Thanks for the thought Captain Slow.

In looking over some of my 10-15% ride segments from last summer (when still riding at higher capacity), I was generally producing about 200W on average, peaks up to 320W. So I figure that with my input reduced to 100-125W, the level of assistance I would need is around 200W to get through the climbs at similar pace.

The Fazua charts suggest the motor can add 200W in medium mode or 250W in high mode to my 100W, surpassing my summer average and maximum. At this time time, that seems sufficient and should allow me to enjoy rides that are closer in feel to non-assisted in less demanding segments.

When the need for more help comes along ...