Advice for RV travel bike with some city use

jayvan

New Member
Wow. I've been reading non-stop about electric bikes for the last two weeks and just stumbled across this site. I'm so impressed with the reviews and sense of community here...

I'm a small guy, 5'5", 140 pounds and looking for an electric bike to take with me in my small RV although it certainly doesn't need to be eon that folds. I will be staying at campgrounds, national parks, and RV parks and would like decent range and the ability to carry a small amount of gear (I'm an avid photographer). I doubt that going off trail or dirt biking will be of any real interest but I imagine there are times when I would be on unpaved paths.

When not camping I envision using it to get around town (Portland, Oregon) although it won't be used as a commuter.

I'm thinking I would want both peddle assist as well as a twist throttle. I seem to be concerned about range for some reason, but right now my head is swimming with all this new information and choices.

I guess I should add that I'm stage IV metastatic melanoma just in case there are other issues I haven't thought of... My health is good right now and traveling has become important to me so anything that helps make this possible is important, too. I'm pretty motivated.

I'm not sure what to say about cost. I don't have a lot of money, but again, I'm going to find a way to make this happen if I can. ;)

Thanks for reading this and if any of you have a suggestion or two as to where I should start I would greatly appreciate it. I know there are one or two stores in town that sell electric bikes (not sure what brands), but I thought maybe it would be good to have some ideas before I went down and tried one out.
 
Welcome Jayvan!

You should check out our lineup. Our customers love using our bikes with their RV's (see attached) This is Kenny and Lisa's set up, they park and use two Motiv Sparks to get around "base camp" and to do local errands. That's when the real fun starts.

motiv-spark-ebike-on-rv.jpg

Our website is at www.motivelectricbikes.com and feel free to call us direct if you have any questions: 800-679-3673
 

Larry Pizzi

Active Member
@jayvan - Before you purchase any bike, make sure you test ride to find one thats right for you. We have the largest selection at all price points and servicing dealers all over the country. Visit our site for more information and to find a dealer in your area. http://currietech.com
 

Court

Administrator
Staff member
Hey jayvan! Welcome to the site, I'm so glad the reviews have been useful. Your plans to travel and ride an ebike around sound wonderful and I appreciate you sharing your height and weight so we can zoom in on some different options.

I'm not sure if your RV is quite as large as the one pictured by Motiv just above. Two years ago I traveled in a Toyota Sunrader that was pretty compact and we used a hitch to carry some gear along but it made me appreciate minimalism ;)

For your type of riding (mostly on road and some light trail) and your desire to spend a little less and maybe save some space I suggest checking out the Epik Lite and Epik Sport Edition by e-Joe. They both offer pedal assist as well as trigger throttle mode and the new 2014 models have powerful 350 watt geared motors that work very well. The battery pack uses Samsung cells and fits right into the downtube so it's protected, low to the ground and centered. You can still charge the battery off the bike however which is great if you're traveling long distances (you can just take your charger along).

The big difference between the two is the front suspension and extra gears on the SE. The regular Epik Lite is a single speed ebike and it rides a bit more stiff because there aren't any suspension features. Both bikes use 20" wheels which don't soak up the bumps as much as a full sized ebike.

Another good option for you might be the IZIP E3 Compact which uses a solid Dahon folding frame and comes with a great warranty and good support from Currie/IZIP which might be available through your local shop. I'm a big fan of trying to buy from shops because you often get some free tuneups and they can deal with warranty issues or battery replacement down the road.

The nice thing about both of these folding ebike options is that they will fit your medium sized build nicely. Some of the full sized high-step electric bikes can be tricky to mount if you're not as tall. If you do go for a full sized electric bike then you might consider getting a step-through like the Motiv Sleek. It's affordable, comfortable and well balanced with the mid battery. One thing it lacks as compared with the folding options is a rear rack for adding a bag or panniers which could come in handy if you're out and about in the parks :)

I know you said you didn't have to get a folding ebike, tell me a bit more about your budget, ride style and space. Happy to provide more options and I'd love to see some pictures when you finally get out there on the road!
 

jayvan

New Member
Thanks for the input, guys. The rain finally let up long enough today to go to a local dealer and ride a few bikes. Is it just me, or are bike shop owners some of the nicest people? I must've rode eight bikes today and they were pleasant and gave me plenty of attention and advice. The store carried the Izip and Easy Motion bikes and this was the very first time I had ridden an electric bike. I absolutely loved it!

I rode the Izip E3 Dash, E3 Path+, E3 Twn: Exp and the Easy Motion Neo Street and Neo City as well as a few other smaller bikes and one that was foldable that I can't remember right now (not the Epik thought). To be honest, the bike that made the biggest impression on me was the first one I rode: the Izip E3 Twn: Exp. The size was great, I really liked the electronics and throttle on the Izips, and I enjoyed the feel of the ride. It was also my first electric bike experience so perhaps if I rode it again I would have a different take. I'm not sure. And, of course, it was the most expensive bike I rode (how does that always happen?).

Court, I checked into the bikes you mentioned; still not sure I want a folding bike. My RV is small (minimalist - luckily, it's just me and the dog) but it has a hitch so a bike carrier would be fine if needed. I hope there is someone selling the Motiv bikes locally so I can check out the Sleek or other models. I do think having a smaller bike at this point in my life is just fine (probably preferable) given my size and weight and maybe that's why the Izip Twn: Exp attracted me more than, say, the Dash. I don't think the fact it has 20" tires bothers me much if any. I also enjoyed sitting pretty upright. My regular bike is a Specialized Roubaix which I bought just before I got sick and it's way too aggressive for me now. And I really think I will be on paved surfaces nearly all the time.

Well, it appears I have a couple of ebooks about electric bikes to read and hopefully tomorrow will visit another bike dealer or two. I would love dearly to find something locally and be able to support a local bike shop if possible. As for my budget, I think it's up in the air after today. If I need to spend a bit more to be happy and comfortable, well...

Thanks for your time and suggestions. Any other input is greatly appreciated.
 

Court

Administrator
Staff member
Hey man! Sounds like you had a great experience at the shop. I'm glad they were good to you, test riding can make all the difference. I've actually ridden the Twn: Exp as well and have a review in the works. It's a unique and sturdy (but heavier) ebike meant for fleets and rentals, it's super durable. The Motiv bikes are great and really anything from Easy Motion or IZIP is going to be good. Did they have the Neo City or Neo Street?
 

jayvan

New Member
Court, I think what I liked about the Twn: Exp was the size of it and the ride. I also really like the computer and TAG/PAS scheme of the Izips. It would be interesting for me to ride that bike again and see if it still appeals to me (which I definitely will do). It doesn't seem to be any heavier than the other Izips although they are larger bikes. I did ride the Neo City and Street. Probably the Neo Street is more my size. They definitely seem to have better warranties than the Izips. I enjoyed them and they seemed solid bikes; I was trying not to let their middling specs (motor and battery) affect my take on them and they seemed zippy and fast. Sort of wish they had different brakes, but I appreciate the racks and lights. Looks like there are no Motive bike dealers in the local area. :(

Looking for an electric bike is reminding me of looking at good camera gear. It's a lot of decision making and compromising on what one really needs and what one would like. It's a challenge, but not an unwelcome one. Like everyone else here, though, I'd like to make a good, informed decision given the dollar amounts involved.
 

Court

Administrator
Staff member
Hey jayvan, you may have already heard about this but the battery specs on the Easy Motion Neo bikes are going to be improved for 2014. Instead of 9 amp hours the batteries will offer 12 and be backwards compatible. The 350 watt geared motor and 36 volt power of the battery will remain the same however, so you basically just get more range :)

It seems like you're doing a great job with your homework and really any of these ebikes would do well. This is the upper crust so to speak and Currie offers great support even though Easy Motion has the five year extended warranty thing if you register. I think a lot of it comes down to brands carried by nearby shops and then maybe the style you like.
 

jayvan

New Member
I think you're spot on, as always, Court. I saw a Easy Motion Neo Jet today with the updated battery. Any idea on when the new models will generally be available? I'm having fun reading and checking out the new bikes, although it can be a bit maddening. I also agree that Easy Motion's extended warranty is incredibly tempting by itself.

Thanks for all your input, reviews and this site. It's been invaluable.
 

Chris Nolte

Well-Known Member
Jayvan, welcome to the forum. It looks like you checked out some great bikes, but I'm sure you experienced some of the bikes being a bit large. I'm 5'9" with short legs and many bikes are too big for me. I think the Jet is an excellent selection. It is currently available and it works quite well for riders of your height. I recently had a customer about your size that loved the Cross but the stand over height was to high and the Jet has been a great fit for him. It seems you're heading in the right direction though looking at quality brands like Currie and Easy Motion. Let us know if we can help in anyway.
 

jayvan

New Member
Thanks, Chris.
The Neo Jet does seem to be really nice. I plan on giving it a test ride this weekend. It's at the top end of my price range and I would probably then have to add lights and probably a rack of some sort. The main thing for me might be the riding position. I'm hoping it would be upright enough... I'm going to read up a bit more on the Motivs, too...
 

Chris Nolte

Well-Known Member
Keep in mind you can always swap out the stem on the bike for a different riding position. We do it all the time for our customers.
 

jayvan

New Member
Yeah, Chris, I've thought of that too. It's funny. When I first started looking a electric bikes I was aiming for something pretty modest and simple. Having biked most my life I've gradually shifted toward looking at more "normal" bike frames and tire sizes. Of course, what I think I want has been changing every day with every new article and review I read. It's maddening but also exciting to be planning a purchase.

One question if I may about gears. I've ridden road bikes most my life so I can appreciate having a lot of gears, but I was sort of looking forward to the simplicity of fewer gears, and also thought that an electric bike one wouldn't need or even offer as many gears. There may be a thread on this already but I didn't see it. Isn't 27 or 30 speeds overkill on and electric bike? Or am I missing something? Just curious...
 

Court

Administrator
Staff member
Hey Jayvan, I'm going to chime in here as the limited gears thing is something I've thought about as well. Depending on how you ride, 7 or 8 gears might be enough and it reduces weight, chain length and complexity which means less noise when riding and fewer repairs. I've owned ebikes with three rings on the front and ended up just keeping my chain in the middle ring and only used the rear ones.

Consider the E3 Peak (which is meant for off road and climbing). It uses the center drive system and therefore cannot easily accommodate more rings on the front where your cranks are. This bike only offers 9 speeds but it actually works pretty well! Just enough for high speed downhill riding and still enough lower gears for climbing. By doing this they get the efficient electric drivetrain but also use a chain guide and bash guard on the front ring which protects it and keeps the chain from flying off...

So long story short, I've been okay with fewer gears on electric for exactly the reason you posited: the motor helps you.
 

Chris Nolte

Well-Known Member
jayvan, it depends on how you plan to use the bike. There are many that switch from riding the bike back and forth from electric to no electric. EddieJ actually recently upgraded his components as he uses the bike in competitions and he wanted something that would work better on the trails he was riding. Some riders that like to stretch the limits of the bike find the lager chainring helpful, we're actually in the process of building an ebike that uses planetary gears on the front chainring to bring the effective size of the front chainring to 77 teeth, where most bikes have 44 tooth at the largest. This will allow me to pedal into ~45mph on a 500W motor if my legs can handle it.

What Court said is true too, but it really depends on your intended use. You could also use the gears for different things like maintaining a consistent pedal cadence and keeping at a target heart rate. It opens up more possibilities, but it's certainly not required.
 

jayvan

New Member
Thanks Court and Chris. I think too the number of gears might reflect company philosophy. Easy Motion which seems to offers more gears and is part of BH, which is a bike company first and foremost. Some of the other companies newer to ebikes or even producing bikes seem to offer fewer (generally, there are exceptions). I mean the Neo City has 24 gears while the Pedego City Commuter has seven. It probably never entered Emotion's mind to use fewer gears. I've been a road biker all my life so I appreciate and can use gears pretty efficiently (to maintain a constant pedal cadence), but I also have a feeling my experience might be like Courts in that I won't be using nearly as many with an ebike. And Chris, you're quite right in that different riders have different needs. But I also can't see where the target audience between the Neo City and Pedego CC is all that different.

I did get on the Neo Jet yesterday and really liked it. It fit me well and gave me more of a real bike experience than some of the others I've tried. One thing I haven't done yet is to turn off the computer and just pedal with no assistance whatsoever. I'll have to try that next time and that's when I'm pretty sure those extra gears will come in handy. ;)

Chris, if you hit 45 mph I want video... :)
 

Chris Nolte

Well-Known Member
Good insight jayvan. We're almost there with the speed, we just ordered some new parts to get us there. The idea is to get to ~40-45mph on a street legal ebike (pedal assist only 500 Watts and 48V battery). Expect a video soon, with some don't try this at home warnings ;)
 

jayvan

New Member
Well, I went ahead and bought a Neo Jet yesterday (with fenders and a rack). Otherwise, I pretty much got it stock and will ride it a bit and then decide if the stem should be raised a bit, if I like the seat, peddles, etc. I bought it locally and they gave me a nice discount and some freebies which made shelling out the money a bit easier. I think I'll be happy with it.

I bought it in the morning and it was raining so hard by mid afternoon I just had them deliver the bike. :(

I personally take responsibility for the rain along the West coast and for that matter, all the bad weather across the US. :rolleyes:
 

Court

Administrator
Staff member
I personally take responsibility for the rain along the West coast and for that matter, all the bad weather across the US. :rolleyes:
Ha! Isn't that how it always goes? Like you've been waiting for dinner to arrive and you get up to use the restroom or something and that seems to cause it to arrive while you're away? Or you know... that black fly in your chardonnay? Don't hate me for this but I think I've got a song for you jayvan.


I guarantee the Neo Jet will ride even better... in fact everything will seem better... once this song is through playing, because the whiney wailing noises will have ended :D jk, I've got much love for this eccentric Canadian pop star from the mid 90's.
 

jayvan

New Member
I know Ms. Morissette well, Court. Thanks for the laugh.

Had my first real ride with the Neo Jet today (the rain finally stopped). Rode 40 miles on a really nice paved trail. OK, my butt is sore, but otherwise it was quite enjoyable. I'll need to sort of relearn gearing when I have assistance, but so far I have no regrets. I also might want a different stem to move the handlebars a smidge, but other than that I'm a happy camper. Oh, and maybe different peddles. :)