Advice: first ebike under $2K USA

bgates153

New Member
Region
USA
My wife and are in our late seventies and fit, and weigh between 140-160 lbs. We are looking for a city/commuter bike that we will take on streets and the Erie canal path but not mountain biking. Step through for her and non-step for me. We have some moderate but not steep hills where we live in Central New York. We will probably never go more than 20 miles. My wife wants an upright ride while I am ok with conventional forward stance and we don't need to get the same bike.

After a lot of research I am considering two brands from local shops and one online brand.
Local shops have the Aventon Pace 350/500 and Soltera models, and the Electra Townie Go! 7D.
Online the Ride1Up brand has four models that interest me, increasing in price: Core5, 500, Cafe Cruiser (new) and Limited.

Pace 500 ($1600): eight speed, 750W motor, hydraulic disk brakes, this looks like the one to beat. I am concerned that many users have complained about the PAS starting at a very high speed surge that might be dangerous for older users.

Aventon Soltera ($1300): seven speed, 500W, mechanical disk brakes, nice minimalist style, very light weight. Riding positions perhaps too upright for my wife's taste in the step-through.

Electra Townie Go! 7D ($1740): Class1 (no throttle), seven speed, 250W motor, hydrualic disk brakes, more cruiser style than the others. Very spare (no lights, horn, fenders, etc. and no display because no throttle). Non-removable battery a drawback? Torque sensor a plus.

Ride1up has a number of bikes in this price range. Downside is need to assemble it and concerns about service, though this brand seems to have fewer complaints online about lack of service response than others. Good online community.

Ride1Up 700 ($1695): eight speed, 500w motor, hydraulic brakes, the only one I am looking at with front suspension. Heavy: about 20 pounds heavier than the Soltera, for example. The 500 is similar without the suspension and only has mechanical disk brakes.

So I am pondering these questions:
The weight of the Ride1Up 700 seems too much.
I will need to decide how important it is for me to have the service by buying locally.
Will the skinnier tires on the Soltera be ok for riding on trails like the Erie Canal?
Does anyone have experienc with the Pace bikes and the surge that I see mentioned online? People say it's hard to ride it at less than 10 mph in PAS1
For our kind of casual riding will the Townie be under powered?
Will I miss the throttle if I go for the Townie? Will the 3 level PAS be a downside?
Are there downsides to the non-removable battery on the Townie aside from the obvious of having to charge it on the bike?










 
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GenXrider

Well-Known Member
Online the Ride1Up brand has four models that interest me, increasing in price: Core5, 500, Cafe Cruiser (new) and Limited.

Ride1Up 700
($1695): eight speed, 500w motor, hydraulic brakes, the only one I am looking at with front suspension. Heavy: about 20 pounds heavier than the Soltera, for example. The 500 is similar without the suspension and only has mechanical disk brakes.
Sorry, but that is just wrong! And that's 5 Ride1Up models, not 4. Of the 5 Ride1Up bikes you mentioned, ALL have front suspensions except for the Core-5. The 500, 700, Cafe Cruiser, and LMT'D all have one, and that's clearly shown in the pictures on their product pages.

Once I get rolling on my 700, it doesn't feel heavy at all. I am very often riding in PAS 0 as well, using assist mostly for hills and headwinds.

I like the 2.4" wide tires on the 700. The motors have different ratings (take all those motor ratings from companies with a grain of salt).


My 700 will max out my power meter on the display at 999 watts when in a high assist level with a good charge on the battery.

The Ride1Up bikes mentioned allow you to adjust the assist power for every assist level in all of the available ranges. This customization of Ride1up bikes' power settings is what first attracted me to them, and nothing else scared me away, and I have no regrets. It's an awesome feature.

I don't know about the townie. A torque sensor can be a plus, but some people don't like them, and Ride1Up actually changed their LMT'D from a torque sensor to a cadence sensor last year because people in general were happier with the cadence sensor performance.

Some people consider a throttle very important, and some have no interest in one. I use mine very little, like just when getting rolling along as I get my biking shoe cleats clipped into the pedals.

The advantage in some cases of the Aventon bikes is for people that want a different size frame or a LBS that might be an Aventon dealer and service shop. I've always worked on my own bikes, so that wasn't an issue for me.
 
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bgates153

New Member
Region
USA
Thanks so much for the response, and for the corrections about suspension. That isn't a core feature for me so I obviously didn't pay enough attention and only mentioned it in relation to weight. I also realize that weight will not be an issue with riding--I should have mentioned that at our age lifting the bikes, even to put them on a rack, makes weight an issue.

Thanks also for the great link. The reason I am only considering Ride1Up for my online choice is what I have read about quality and support. I am only wavering over whether I want the extra security of a LBS for service.

The ability to adjust the PAS is a definite plus for Ride1Up.

After visiting a Trek/Electra shop to look at the Townie I am considering breaking the piggy bank for the Trek Verve+2 :).
 

indianajo

Well-Known Member
No court review on the soltera to read tire size. I can ride on a rutted grassy driveway or gravel in construction zones with 2.1" tires. 1.75" works almost as well. 1 1/8" is a lot rougher & sinks in mud. I don't need a suspension on 2.1" at 9-20 mph I usually ride.
Read the brand review about the aventons. https://electricbikereview.com/foru...on-products-help-solutions-fixes.25542/unread Lots of complaints about PAS1 being too fast, too jerky. You sound like the kind of riders that might ride at those speeds.
The weight of electra townie, 45 lb, is hard to beat. https://electricbikereview.com/electra/townie-go-7d-step-thru/ Fenders don't add much weight. I use aftermarket lights, no need for ones integrated by the manufacturer. Brightz pink or red in the back, bought one for $10 yesterday @ meijers store. Uses AAA batteries. I have Sun 150 lumen white in the front, mainly as a flasher. Uses coin cell. If the weather is bad I break out a Catseye 500 lumen light, but at $50 I keep it in a peanut butter jar in the bag to avoid theft. I had a previous $50 light in the bag that drowned from the rain. Last brightz light was broken by a wannabe thief that broke the cover off trying to pry it. I have brightz screwed to a plastic bar: a previous one the plastic ties were cut & it was stolen.
I use cable pull brakes, no downside IMHO. The <$2000 bikes probably use the same stretchy grey metal cables as the $200 discount store bikes. Require frequent adjustment. You can retrofit clarks or jaguar slick stainless cables, that don't stretch. My $2000 unpowered bike came with the good cables. No cable adjustments required. If the force is too high, get brake handles with 5" levers instead of 3 1/2". I get 1000 miles out of the front pads (I use front) before a 4 minute caliper adjustment.
A blix aveny weighs 56 lb but has twice the power of a townie. https://electricbikereview.com/blix/aveny-skyline/
Blix still has no complaints on the brand forum. https://electricbikereview.com/foru...ith-blix-products-help-solutions-fixes.13095/ Generic battery is cheap to replace after ~1000 charges or if stolen. Comes with fenders. 18" frame better fit you. (won't fit me). Aveny has a throttle if your knee locks up or the chain pops off. My knees are very iffy and I have damaged a derailleur with a stick and ridden home with the throttle only. Aveny has a twist shifter, which is required for me. Both previous trigger shifters, shimano & sram, caused a 10 cm x 1 cm cyst over my thumb joint. My bike came with a trigger shifter but I changed to twist shifter. Doing so on a new bike voids the warranty. Same with the brake handles.
Trak makes townie. Verve should also be high quality bike with few complaints. https://electricbikereview.com/trek/verve-plus-3/ Trek Verve buys 250 watt bosch mid drive with 9 speed "insta-wear" chain. If chain pops off on mid-drive you repair it right then or call a tow truck. Lower bosch models drag if ridden with the power off. I ride unpowered 80% of the time, when wind is not in my face. Bosch battery is patented. If it is stolen the replacement is >$1000 and sometimes may not available.

Happy shopping & later riding.
 
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bgates153

New Member
Region
USA
Thanks for the very helpful suggestions IndianaJoe.

The tires on the Soltera are Kenda Kwest 700X35c which I take to be 26.5 x 1.3 inches. The are much narrower than the other bikes I am looking at and may be too thin for our taste.

As for the jerky/surging PAS on the Pace 500, I have been following posts that suggest the problem has been addressed (though I don't fully understand the details):
https://electricbikereview.com/foru...-aventon-products-help-solutions-fixes.25542/
https://electricbikereview.com/forums/threads/aventon-controller-modifications.41495/

I did read the thread you mention about the brand, which is where I saw these references to the surging and the changes to the controller. Nothing else in there seemed to raise any concerns. And the reviews I have read on the Pace 500 are all very positive (I understand the limitations of reviews).

As for brakes, only the Soltera one speed uses calipers, the seven speed that we would get has mechanical disk brakes.

Your advice about a twist vs. thumb shifter is very helpful as we are both in arthritis range in some of our joints.

The Blix Aveny looks very nice and if we decide to order online may be a good alternative to the Ride1Up bikes on my list. After more consideration I am no longer looking at the Verve, for some of the reasons you mention, including no throttle.

Thanks again.
 

AHicks

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Snow Bird - Summer S.E. Michigan, Winter Gulf Coast North Central Fl.
Regarding that "high speed surge", that's pretty typical of many (most) hub driven (under 2K) bikes. Even when in PAS 1, if the crank is being turned without pausing, the bike will continue accelerating to 12-13mph. And darn right, that generates a lot of complaints. Some seem to get used to it. I couldn't....

I haven't seen it discussed much, but @GenXrider claims that the R1U bikes are adjustable in this regard, which is sort of an unusual, but likely very welcome/handy option in this regard.

Beyond that, this decision regarding to buy online or from a shop is a big one. It needs to be made early on, because buying from a shop can be expensive and limit available choices and options. Buying on line will have YOU doing the majority of your work, as most shops won't work on anything they didn't sell.

The wife and I are in our 70's and I found the bike's ride to be an important factor. Skinny tires and good ride are contradictory terms. Suspension type front ends (no matter the quality) are very desirable. The 2.4" tires on the 700 are some of the best tires available at any price (Schwalbe Super Moto-X). Balloon types like these ride well with remarkably low rolling resistance.

I'll get some flack regarding this, but for me, any bike with the battery located in/on the rear rack would be a non-starter here. It messes with the bikes balance in a manner I don't care for at all. And they look like an amateur home built....

The last note (#21) in your second link refers to an aftermarket KT controller. I'm a huge fan, as it features a lot of programming options (easily set up from the display) that can be set to a customer's personal preferences. This would include the speed/amount of power in PAS 1. To my knowledge, it's pretty much state of the art for hub motor powered production bikes. The conversion does require some DIY. There's not much available as far as bike specific directions, but there's good support available online. -Al
 
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bgates153

New Member
Region
USA
Thanks AHicks. I had ruled out bike rack mounted battery early on in my research. And I'm also pretty much ruling out the Soltera based on the tires, though I love many other things about it. (The Townie is now out for various reasons including no throttle.)

I found a LBS that will assemble or check over and tune if I buy a bike online. I'm pretty sure what I will do is buy the Pace 500 from him for my wife and both ride it for a while to see how we like it. If the PAS speed is a problem I will have him install the KT controller (thanks GenXrider for the link to the Ride1Up controller). Depending on how it goes, I may then order the Ride1Up 500 or 700 for myself and put it together and pay him to correct if anything goes wrong. If it turns out the Ride1Up is much better than the Pace 500 for our uses, I will sell that and get another Ride1Up.
 

AHicks

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Snow Bird - Summer S.E. Michigan, Winter Gulf Coast North Central Fl.
Love the put it together on your own first plan. You learn so much about the bike - AND - it's a big confidence builder when it comes to servicing the bike later. Having a local dealer available to bail you out if necessary is a huge bonus. Keep in mind that about anything you want/need to do from a service standpoint will have a huge assortment of DIY YouTube videos available, not to mention the support available in forums like this one.....

Best of luck! -Al
 
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EMGX

Well-Known Member
Just some friendly real world experience, not really advice because everyone has their own preferences.
A rear hub motor wheel is very heavy, I just weighed my 500w geared rear hub wheel with a 7 speed freewheel and a 26x1.75 solid airless tannus tire (no heavier than a standard tire plus tube but skinnier than many indicate to be their preference) and it came in at 17.3#. Pulling a 17+# wheel from a bike at the side of a road to fix a flat is not easy. I've fixed flats on my 41# Yamaha powered mid drive (<35# with battery removed) and it wasn't much or any harder to do than on any other non-assist bike.
For the couple geared hub drives that I have used I've found the KT controllers easy to program for a fairly natural feeling power based assist, not the usual speed based assist that people often complain about. But, to me, cadence based hub drives still don't provide as natural of a riding experience as a mid drive.
$2000 gets you close to the price range of a good mid drive. A removable battery doesn't look as tidy but it is nice to be be able to easily remove a 7+# battery when you have to lift the bike or fix a flat/etc.
If you are mechanically inclined, many are not, a Tongsheng TSDZ2 torque sensing mid drive in 48v/750w configuration is very similar in performance to my Yamaha powered bike and there is an option to have a throttle if that is important to you.
 
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Gordon71

Well-Known Member
New Rad City 5? Not ridden one but have had very good luck with both the Rover and Mini. Both step throughs.
 

bgates153

New Member
Region
USA
Not sure what put me off on Rad in my searching. Maybe something about non-standard components, or less than idea support, or that the current city 5 plus is pretty heavy at 64 pounds and pushes my budget at $2K. But I will take another look. Thanks.
 

AHicks

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Snow Bird - Summer S.E. Michigan, Winter Gulf Coast North Central Fl.
Just some friendly real world experience, not really advice because everyone has their own preferences.
A rear hub motor wheel is very heavy, I just weighed my 500w geared rear hub wheel with a 7 speed freewheel and a 26x1.75 solid airless tannus tire (no heavier than a standard tire plus tube but skinnier than many indicate to be their preference) and it came in at 17.3#. Pulling a 17+# wheel from a bike at the side of a road to fix a flat is not easy. I've fixed flats on my 41# Yamaha powered mid drive (<35# with battery removed) and it wasn't much or any harder to do than on any other non-assist bike.
For the couple geared hub drives that I have used I've found the KT controllers easy to program for a fairly natural feeling power based assist, not the usual speed based assist that people often complain about. But, to me, cadence based hub drives still don't provide as natural of a riding experience as a mid drive.
$2000 gets you close to the price range of a good mid drive. A removable battery doesn't look as tidy but it is nice to be be able to easily remove a 7+# battery when you have to lift the bike or fix a flat/etc.
If you are mechanically inclined, many are not, a Tongsheng TSDZ2 torque sensing mid drive in 48v/750w configuration is very similar in performance to my Yamaha powered bike and there is an option to have a throttle if that is important to you.
At first glance this seems like a major project. I can assure you though, that after doing this a couple of times you're going to find some shortcuts. The first is that the hub doesn't HAVE to be removed completely to change a tire or a tube (especially if you find yourself doing this on the side of a road). You do need to loosen the nuts on both sides like you are going to remove it, but all you really need to do is lift it up 6" or so to allow you to slip the tube (or even a tire) over the side opposite the one with the wires holding it.

Second tip would be to set the derailleur on the smallest gear prior to starting all that. This will make clearing the chain much easier when lifting the hub up as well as reinstalling it. -Al
 

EMGX

Well-Known Member
I've pretty much done it all and in the end put an airless Tannus tire on the rear hub motor wheel. I didn't see much difference riding with the Tannus airless vs a regular tire but it was a struggle to get that tire on the rim and there isn't much of a choice of tire sizes that also have to match the inner rim width. That rear motor/wheel is currently sitting unused since it was too much of a hassle trying to install it on my wife's bike so she will stick to using a front hub motor (which I have some safety concerns for her given how she rides).
 

indianajo

Well-Known Member
Pulling a 17+# wheel from a bike at the side of a road to fix a flat is not easy. I've fixed flats on my 41# Yamaha powered mid drive (<35# with battery removed) and it wasn't much or any harder to do than on any other non-assist bike.
I roll the bike over on handgrips & seat to change flats. I don't lift it on anything; it is 94 lb with basic kit. One reason I prefer to ride without display, or with it remounted down where I can't see it when the bike wont run without it. I prefer to lift front hub motors, but if I couldn't lift 17 lb at waist level I'd be embarrassed. I lift about 60 lb every time I roll the rear of the bike over the step coming out of the garage. I do have a 38 lb weight set I do biceps curls on in the winter. I'm age 71 but not yet feeble.
With my bike a self convert, I left excess wire length on the hub motor end to remove the wheel & set it against the bike without unplugging.
& BTW 90% of my $26 knobby tires wear out without ever having a flat. No slime, liners, armor, $60 schalbe tires or any of that.
It took me 3 afternoons to change a chain, and 2 tools made. I can't snap or remove the master link without leverage. My hands are strong enough to play a wood piano, but not to change a bike chain. Now that I have a complete set of chain tools, the burglar carried them all off so I have to buy all those tools again. I couldn't even find a chain stretcher on modern-bike site for 3/32" chain. My phelps-dodge chain stretcher didn't work on skinny chain, and the schwinn pin popper didn't work either. Go ahead, do that job every 1000 miles if you want. My chain lasts 5000 miles or 2 1/2 years. Or carry your bike to the specialist in your motor vehicle. I don't maintain one. I don't want to lift the bike in the motor vehicle, either.
 
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Gordon71

Well-Known Member
I roll the bike over on handgrips & seat to change flats. I don't lift it on anything; it is 94 lb with basic kit. One reason I prefer to ride without display, or with it remounted down where I can't see it when the bike wont run without it. I prefer to lift front hub motors, but if I couldn't lift 17 lb at waist level I'd be embarrassed. I lift about 60 lb every time I roll the rear of the bike over the step coming out of the garage. I do have a 38 lb weight set I do biceps curls on in the winter. I'm age 71 but not yet feeble.
With my bike a self convert, I left excess wire length on the hub motor end to remove the wheel & set it against the bike without unplugging.
& BTW 90% of my $26 knobby tires wear out without ever having a flat. No slime, liners, armor, $60 schalbe tires or any of that.
It took me 3 afternoons to change a chain, and 2 tools made. I can't snap or remove the master link without leverage. My hands are strong enough to play a wood piano, but not to change a bike chain. Now that I have a complete set of chain tools, the burglar carried them all off so I have to buy all those tools again. I couldn't even find a chain stretcher on modern-bike site for 3/32" chain. My phelps-dodge chain stretcher didn't work on skinny chain, and the schwinn pin popper didn't work either. Go ahead, do that job every 1000 miles if you want. My chain lasts 5000 miles or 2 1/2 years. Or carry your bike to the specialist in your motor vehicle. I don't maintain one. I don't want to lift the bike in the motor vehicle, either.
A pair of folding handlebar jacks will protect the display.
 
Region
USA
Ill comment on the low PAS surge, I agree its jumpy and even felt a bit unsafe for me when i first got my bike. I started using the throttle to accelerate from stopped position and its a nice gentle smooth start and then once im off and going at a speed i feel good i start pedaling and there isnt any real jump at all. I only start with throttle now (it may take a bit more battery but i dont have any issues with range)