Advice on buying first e bike

larryt67

New Member
I am looking for advice on buying my first e bike. I am a 74 yr. old male and have problems with lungs and legs.
Would like to find a e bike that would let me use the peddles and throttle at the same time. I would like to find out
if a single or 7 gear shifter would be better for me. Also I have seen bikes with the battery in different locations
on a bike and would like to find what the best location for stability of the bike would be. Looking to spend about
$1500 or so.
Thanks
Larry
 

Sierratim

Well-Known Member
I am looking for advice on buying my first e bike. I am a 74 yr. old male and have problems with lungs and legs.
Would like to find a e bike that would let me use the peddles and throttle at the same time. I would like to find out
if a single or 7 gear shifter would be better for me. Also I have seen bikes with the battery in different locations
on a bike and would like to find what the best location for stability of the bike would be. Looking to spend about
$1500 or so.
Thanks
Larry
As a 70 year old myself I would definitely recommend a multi-speed setup; 7 speed minimum. What type of terrain will you be riding, fairly flat? If so, a single gear in the front will be fine, but a double is OK too.

My first ebike had the battery mounted in a special rear rack. It made the bike feel a bit top heavy. My latest ebike has the battery on the down tube. It feels more balanced with this weight lower on the frame.

I would definitely recommend hydraulic disc brakes. My first had rim V-brakes, a classic mountain bike setup, but not quite up to the task with the heavier bike. The new disc brakes are great.

A user reliability survey was recently posted on this forum. The results might help with your decision; https://electricbikereview.com/forums/threads/spring-2020-ebike-reliability-survey-results.33641/ . The bikes on this list cover a wide price range, but several have models in your target $.

Test rides are real eye openers. Some models are mail order only, but do test rides if at all possible. It'll give you a much better feel for features, price points, comfort, and power.

Good hunting!
 

Alex M

Well-Known Member
Any ebike with throttle will allow pedaling at the same time, so - cross this out.

Single gear is simpler to operate and more reliable - less parts to fail. It is also less enjoyable. For somebody who won't pedal much, and if the terrain is mostly flat, a single gear is enough, but 7-gear won't hurt - you just won't use the other 6.

The worst battery location for stability is on the rear rack - not a disaster but you will feel it sometimes. The best location is along the seatpost or on the downtube - like Ride1Up, Aventon, RAD City and many other.

Ride1Up is a good choice if you can do your own maintenance and minor repairs or find a shop nearby that would agree to work on it (or maybe there is a mobile Velofix coverage in your area).

Seniors have come to appreciate step-through frames - those that used to be called called "women bikes". Something like this: Aventon Pace 350. They've raised the price to $1,100 now. No lights or rack, budget another $50-60 for that. It has mechanical disc brakes, adequate for this lightweight bike and 350W motor.
If you're heavy or need more hill-climbing ability, for $1,400 there is Aventon Pace 500 with a motor a little bigger and battery lasting a little longer (same motor as in Ride1Up). With hydraulic brakes.

Aesthetically, I'm not thrilled with how the Pace frames look, there are better looking step-through frames but the price is often higher or it is an imported bike with low-quality parts and no support.

As a side-note, it amazes me when a company suddenly decides to call their product "the best of 2020", or "the best cruiser", or "an ultimate commuter". As if somebody has given them a Nobel prize :).

One more thing - except for demo models, don't count on getting any ebike for the next few months. It's all made in China, they had stopped all the production earlier this year and it will take time to clear the backlog orders.
 
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Marci jo

Well-Known Member
As a 70 year old myself I would definitely recommend a multi-speed setup; 7 speed minimum. What type of terrain will you be riding, fairly flat? If so, a single gear in the front will be fine, but a double is OK too.

My first ebike had the battery mounted in a special rear rack. It made the bike feel a bit top heavy. My latest ebike has the battery on the down tube. It feels more balanced with this weight lower on the frame.

I would definitely recommend hydraulic disc brakes. My first had rim V-brakes, a classic mountain bike setup, but not quite up to the task with the heavier bike. The new disc brakes are great.

A user reliability survey was recently posted on this forum. The results might help with your decision; https://electricbikereview.com/forums/threads/spring-2020-ebike-reliability-survey-results.33641/ . The bikes on this list cover a wide price range, but several have models in your target $.

Test rides are real eye openers. Some models are mail order only, but do test rides if at all possible. It'll give you a much better feel for features, price points, comfort, and power.

Good hunting!

Agreed.
Test ride as much as possible.
 

Alex M

Well-Known Member
Test ride isn't always possible with consumer-direct bikes. This is how they keep prices low - no local stores. There are several locations where you can test-ride RAD or Aventon. There are no locations for Ride1Up.

One thing to decide is whether he needs a cruiser-like upright position or more aggressive forward-leaning stance, though most buyers have an idea what kind of position they want, before test ride. Other things to check in person is how much power it outputs on the lowest level of assist and whether you need that much.

You can of course try several Pedego's (or whatever hub drives are available locally), to get a better idea what you want, and then go home and order something else.
 

Nova Haibike

Well-Known Member
If you have leg problems, I suspect you would find a step-thru "women's" frame much easier to mount than a diamond "men's" frame.

I have assembled Aventon bikes for people. They seem quite nice of quality. I'd steer you to the Pace 500, but like many popular e-bikes now, it is available only on a pre-order basis.
 

UphillBothWays

New Member
I am looking for advice on buying my first e bike. I am a 74 yr. old male and have problems with lungs and legs.
Would like to find a e bike that would let me use the peddles and throttle at the same time. I would like to find out
if a single or 7 gear shifter would be better for me. Also I have seen bikes with the battery in different locations
on a bike and would like to find what the best location for stability of the bike would be. Looking to spend about
$1500 or so.
Thanks
Larry
Hi. You might find my post about How I finally made my decision. I am 65, and really weighed all the options, tested a few, and realized I wanted a throttle, and gears. I live in a pretty hilly area, and I use those gears all through my rides, barely using pedal assist, but using the throttle when I need a boost up a hill. One thing I don't like about my Pace 500 Step Through is that if I do turn the pedal assist on, it goes right to 12 MPH. That doesn't sound like much, but when you are weaving and dodging other bikers and pedestrians, you need to go a bit slower, but it doesn't allow you to alter the speed, while still using the throttle. Not sure any bike allows for this. A Step through model was a must for me, and I don't need to be swinging my leg over the bike, and it gives you better control to hop off when necessary. There were several other brands I was interested in, but delivery wasn't until August for some! The Pace 500 is a great price, and for a first bike, whatever else you think you need, you can add...I added lights, rack, rear view mirror. Cheap enough. Good luck! Be careful. Go slow until you really get used to it!!!
 

legsofbeer

Active Member
Also I have seen bikes with the battery in different locations
on a bike and would like to find what the best location for stability of the bike would be.

For stability you want the battery on the down tube near the bottom bracket, or on the seat tube as low as possible. But, a little advice, e-bikes tend to be kind of heavy and sometimes you have to maneouver them by lifting (like getting them in and out of a tight elevator) so think about overall bike weight. Also, if stability is a huge concern, there are folks making fatty electric 3-wheel bikes. Again, weight would be a problem, but if you have your own garage, why not?
 

Alex M

Well-Known Member
Intended use should've been specified - terrain and range.
If there are no major hills and the rider's weight is under 200 lbs, Pace 350 could suit their needs better than 500. It will accelerate slower, easier to avoid excessive speed when maneuvering around other people.

Trike is definitely worth considering, but again, depends on the terrain. There was an interesting review on Liberty Trike. It's a small trike, more for paved roads than trails, and some issues she mentioned are not uncommon in bigger trikes - stable as it is, it's not like a car.
 
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indianajo

Well-Known Member
Also, if stability is a huge concern, there are folks making fatty electric 3-wheel bikes. Again, weight would be a problem, but if you have your own garage, why not?
I'm age 69 & when I take a downhill tight curve at 30 mph, a 3 wheel would fall right over and scrape my arm leg and maybe helmet all the way until we stopped. 3 wheels are for grandma's at 6 mph around the retirement community. Or people with a heart condition or inner ear problems. I'm 8 mph average on the level w/o power but I take full advantage of any down hills if the pavement is dry.
BTW, my bike weighs 94 lb with battery, motor, rack, full set of tools to allow repair off the cell phone grid. I have no trouble handling it. You'll see I have my battery out on the front over the wheel, to balance the loads in the back. Also keeps any possible battery fires away from my crotch.
Note to OP, I live in a hilly area, and my bike has 3 front speeds & 8 back. I pedal unpowered with a geared hub motor unless the wind is >12 mph in my face. Keeps the heart pumping. No drag from a geared hub motor.
 
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Sierratim

Well-Known Member
3 wheels are for grandma's at 6 mph around the retirement community. Or people with a heart condition or inner ear problems. I'm 8 mph average on the level w/o power but I take full advantage of any down hills.
It depends on what trike granny is riding. Trikes are generally unstable on corners with 2 fixed rear wheels and a single wheel front wheel to steer. Reverse this configuration, apply a bit of well known automotive engineering (Ackerman steering geometry, et al) and a stable trike is born. With a bit of finess, they're even suitable for racing, downhills, around corners, etc. My youngest son helped design racing versions as a mechanical engineering student. They raced their trike, and won, in the international collegiate Human Powered Vehicle completions. Exciting to watch as the front wheels lean and cant on corners with the rider nearly scraping his elbow on the pavement.
 

rich c

Well-Known Member
It depends on what trike granny is riding. Trikes are generally unstable on corners with 2 fixed rear wheels and a single wheel front wheel to steer. Reverse this configuration, apply a bit of well known automotive engineering (Ackerman steering geometry, et al) and a stable trike is born. With a bit of finess, they're even suitable for racing, downhills, around corners, etc. My youngest son helped design racing versions as a mechanical engineering student. They raced their trike, and won, in the international collegiate Human Powered Vehicle completions. Exciting to watch as the front wheels lean and cant on corners with the rider nearly scraping his elbow on the pavement.
The kind of trike you are talking about is around a $10,000 purchase.
 

Sierratim

Well-Known Member
The kind of trike you are talking about is around a $10,000 purchase.
Trikes built for racing are expensive, as are similar grade road and mountain bikes, not that I'm suggesting anyone buy any of these for recreational riding. Commercial trikes with similar, but not as refined, suspensions are available for less but my real point of course was that trikes don't have to be just for gannies...😎
 

Timpo

Well-Known Member
It depends on what trike granny is riding. Trikes are generally unstable on corners with 2 fixed rear wheels and a single wheel front wheel to steer. Reverse this configuration, apply a bit of well known automotive engineering (Ackerman steering geometry, et al) and a stable trike is born. With a bit of finess, they're even suitable for racing, downhills, around corners, etc. My youngest son helped design racing versions as a mechanical engineering student. They raced their trike, and won, in the international collegiate Human Powered Vehicle completions. Exciting to watch as the front wheels lean and cant on corners with the rider nearly scraping his elbow on the pavement.
Something like this is easy to flip over.
You can't lean like normal bike.



But these ones are stable because you can lean while corner.


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Alex M

Well-Known Member
The OP at 74 sort of qualifies as "grandpa", doesn't he...
There aren't too many commercial e-trikes under $1600 from reputable makers and they all have 2 rear wheels, only one wheel driven - either front wheel or one of the rear wheels. Sun 24 Traditional is one - barely under $1600 with non-locking battery in plastic wrap, Liberty with 16" wheels is another one.
 

Sierratim

Well-Known Member
The OP at 74 sort of qualifies as "grandpa", doesn't he...
There aren't too many commercial e-trikes under $1600 from reputable makers and they all have 2 rear wheels, only one wheel driven - either front wheel or one of the rear wheels. Sun 24 Traditional is one - barely under $1600 with non-locking battery in plastic wrap, Liberty with 16" wheels is another one.
Heck, at over 70 I qualify as a granpa!

But I believe you're right. You won't find a reasonable quality electric drive 'tadpole' (2 front wheel) trike for the OP's price target. Back on topic...
 

jazz

Well-Known Member
I just bought a Juiced RipCurrent fat tire bike. It is a little more than your budget but worth the extra couple hundred. The fat tires will give you extra cushion, you get front suspension, 9 speeds, decent seat, 52v battery, hydraulic brakes (a must!) and 750w motor. It has throttle and assist. It's $1899 with free shipping but jump on their chat and ask for $100 off code and get it for $1799 with free shipping - https://www.juicedbikes.com/products/ripcurrent