Avid cyclist learning about e-bikes

EmilyRides

New Member
Hi everyone! I've been riding for several decades, mostly roadies but also MTBs, folding bikes, recumbents, tandems, and beach cruisers. I just love bikes and riding. At 59, I've got a lot more aches and pains than I used to, so I am starting to research e-bikes. I also want to be able to keep up with much much faster husband without having to go back to a tandem. We're both independent-minded (i.e., stubborn) so tandems don't work so well for us. Not ready to purchase this year but hoping for next year.

I am petite (5'2", 28.5" inseam, 100 lbs), so am looking for a smaller e-bike. Want a more upright position since my lower back is cranky, but still want something fairly sporty, since I'll be riding with my husband on his road bike. Looking forward to participating in these forums and learning more. Have really been enjoying the video reviews!
 

indianajo

Well-Known Member
Welcome to the site. Glad you can ride with your husband, although abilities are unequal.
I was passed by a number of road bikers last month, including a quad of women. Head forward is efficient if your neck will stand it, (mine may not) so I sit upright.
When we got to the 6 lane highway where the light won't turn green for bikes, they all had to wait. My geared hub motor jumps out quick like a bunny, so I was able to dart across in a gap in traffic while they waited.
Then a half mile down the road, they all passed me again as if I were standing still.
My bodaboda is perfect for small people, but has cargo capacity and a few extra pounds to cope with the groceries.
A lot of women like the electra townie go. Not for sale here, I might have bought one since my inseam is 28". but my back is extra long, 68" overall.
I'm 70, my biggest pain is my hips. All the fat moved to my belly age 62. I've tried 4 different saddles, and am now taping ugly foam sheets to the top of a mesinger leather seat with springs. Still not as good as my living room couch.
 

Deacon Blues

Well-Known Member
Are you looking for an ebike with flat bars or drop bars?
If you're looking for an ebike with flat bars the Specialized Vado SL is a good choice. It has a smaller motor and battery, but is also light compared to most ebikes (around 33 pounds).
 

rich c

Well-Known Member
Are you looking for an ebike with flat bars or drop bars?
If you're looking for an ebike with flat bars the Specialized Vado SL is a good choice. It has a smaller motor and battery, but is also light compared to most ebikes (around 33 pounds).
They make a small enough frame for 5’2”? I’d suggest something from Tern.
 

EmilyRides

New Member
Yeah, the Specialized Vado SL looks great except for the standover of 770 mm in the Small size. If they made an XS or a lowstep, it would certainly be a contender.

I am looking for flat bars as I need the bars higher than the saddle for my back issues. I fractured my pelvis in a cycling accident in '05 and still have some issues on the right side, and lower back pain in general when I am bent over in a more traditional roadie position for more than an hour or so, probably due to arthritis and/or muscle strain from climbing in a more forward position.

Currently I am interested in the Specialized Como and Trek Allant+ 7S stagger. I am sure there are many more choices, but I do like the fact that Specialized and Trek have a large network of dealers for support, when needed. My roadie is a Trek, and both my husband and I have had great luck with that brand. Seems like I looked at Tern and ruled them out for one reason or another (small wheels, maybe?) Unless absolutely necessary, I really don't want a 20" wheeled bike. I do have one now, my Bike Friday folder, but it is a bit twitchy, and since I'll be living on a rural gravel road with a long gravel driveway, I want a bit more stability. The vast majority of my riding will be on pavement, but I'll face the gravel at the beginning and end of my rides. I'll revisit Tern since it has been awhile since I checked out their offerings.
 

Nova Haibike

Well-Known Member
I am petite (5'2", 28.5" inseam, 100 lbs), so am looking for a smaller e-bike. Want a more upright position since my lower back is cranky, but still want something fairly sporty, since I'll be riding with my husband on his road bike. Looking forward to participating in these forums and learning more. Have really been enjoying the video reviews!

I wonder how you would fit on a small Yamaha Civante? Yes, it is a road bikes with dropped bars, but it has wider 35mm tires, support up to 28mph, and the small has a 43 cm seat tube with a standover height of 725 mm. Maybe change the stem if you need to shorten up the cockpit.

If you think 20 mph is enough, you might also check out the Cross Core.
 

EmilyRides

New Member
I wonder how you would fit on a small Yamaha Civante? Yes, it is a road bikes with dropped bars, but it has wider 35mm tires, support up to 28mph, and the small has a 43 cm seat tube with a standover height of 725 mm. Maybe change the stem if you need to shorten up the cockpit.

If you think 20 mph is enough, you might also check out the Cross Core.

Thanks -- I'll have a look. I should have mentioned above that I definitely want a Class 3. I am used to being able to ride fast and rather aggressively at times (though I certainly don't mind toodling along at times either), and I certainly need the additional speed support to ride with my husband. The standover on that Yamaha is probably not going to work for me, unfortunately. It's about the same as my inseam, leaving me with zero clearance. I've had a roadie like that before before sloped top tubes were a thing, and I didn't like not having even an inch of clearance.

ETA: Just took a quick look at the Yamaha, and they say the Small frame size is a 53 cm, which wouldn't work for me. My Trek roadie is a 47 cm WSD model, and I had to raise the handlebars on that. The Specialized Creo in XS would probably fit me, and if I were 10-20 years younger and not banged up with old injuries and new pains, I would seriously consider it.
 
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Deacon Blues

Well-Known Member
Too bad the Vado SL doesn't come in XS.
Here's another choice: LIV (Giant) Thrive E+EX Pro
Class 3 and it comes in X small size.
 

byunbee

Well-Known Member
Thanks -- I'll have a look. I should have mentioned above that I definitely want a Class 3. I am used to being able to ride fast and rather aggressively at times (though I certainly don't mind toodling along at times either), and I certainly need the additional speed support to ride with my husband. The standover on that Yamaha is probably not going to work for me, unfortunately. It's about the same as my inseam, leaving me with zero clearance. I've had a roadie like that before before sloped top tubes were a thing, and I didn't like not having even an inch of clearance.

ETA: Just took a quick look at the Yamaha, and they say the Small frame size is a 53 cm, which wouldn't work for me. My Trek roadie is a 47 cm WSD model, and I had to raise the handlebars on that. The Specialized Creo in XS would probably fit me, and if I were 10-20 years younger and not banged up with old injuries and new pains, I would seriously consider it.
Hi @EmilyRides,

Welcome to the forum! Few of questions....
  1. What is your budget?
  2. Is the primary purpose to sweat and get exercise or just cruise and be able to keep up with your husband?
  3. Do you need or want throttle? Given that you want a wide dealer network, I assume you're ok without throttle since none of the big 3 bike manufacturers offer this.
 

EmilyRides

New Member
Too bad the Vado SL doesn't come in XS.
Here's another choice: LIV (Giant) Thrive E+EX Pro
Class 3 and it comes in X small size.

Thank you! I hadn't looked at Giant yet. I will definitely check this one out! :)
 

EmilyRides

New Member
Hi @EmilyRides,

Welcome to the forum! Few of questions....
  1. What is your budget?
  2. Is the primary purpose to sweat and get exercise or just cruise and be able to keep up with your husband?
  3. Do you need or want throttle? Given that you want a wide dealer network, I assume you're ok without throttle since none of the big 3 bike manufacturers offer this.

Hi! To answer your questions:

1. Budget is fairly open. I haven't bought a new bike in many years, so this will be a special treat for my 60th b-day next year. Up to maybe $4K.
2. Absolutely sweat and get exercise. Cycling is my main fitness activity, I like staying fit, and I love to eat, so I need to be able to ride to keep my heart and legs strong and to burn calories -- but not so hard that I am miserable. That happens now if I try to keep up with hubby; thus, the e-bike. In addition to longer fitness rides (25-50 miles), I also want to be able to do utility rides like we do now on our folders, to the farmer's market, grocery store, etc. Those would be shorter rides (10-15 miles) with a purpose. So a rear rack, or ability to add one, is a must.
3. No. Don't want it at all. I am not looking for a glorified scooter or motorbike but a bicycle. ;)
 

eieileen

New Member
I'm curious if you ended up deciding on anything. I am having very similar issues, but I am hoping to stick with a road or touring bike rather than a hybrid.
 

EmilyRides

New Member
No, I am not actually in the buying market yet. I'm continuing my research, reading and watching reviews. So far I have these models on my radar:

Specialized Turbo Como
Trek Allant 7S Stagger
Liv Thrive EX Pro
Cannondale Canvas Neo 1 Remixte step-thru
CUBE 20" Compact Sport Hybrid

So, I am all over the map at the moment. I am also considering an e-trike. Not planning to buy this year, so I have time to make a decision. Best of luck in your choices!
 

bob armani

Well-Known Member
Welcome to the forum! Those are some nice Ebike candidates you have referenced.

I am small guy (5'4", 28" inseam, 135 lbs), cranky lower back due to a bike injury in 2013, and I love to eat Italian food. It's funny, just today I was having the same conversation with another fellow biker who was interested in an E-bike purchase. Top tube geometry is always an issue for a smaller rider indeed. Took me forever to find the correct sizing for that due to my short inseam. I was never a big fan of a low step frame either. Best to try before you buy. The frame sizing can be so misleading company to company.

Side story: A friend purchased a Specialized Levo in size large. He is a bit over 6ft tall. When we swapped our bikes, I was able to straddle the top tube on his bike without touching my private area. That said, it may be best to try as many as you can before purchase. Happy shopping and good luck with your search. ;) 🧐
 

EmilyRides

New Member
Thanks Bob! You are so right about trying before buying. Unfortunately, as I have found over the years, it can be hard to find many smaller bikes to test ride. Shops often don't stock them, as you probably know. But I will certainly do my best when the time comes to buy. Interesting story about your friend's "Large" size bike. I would imagine that even if you could straddle the top tube, the bike wouldn't necessarily fit you overall. There are many aspects to fit, reach being hugely important, as you know.

What e-bike did you end up with?
 

FlatSix911

Well-Known Member
Hi! To answer your questions:

1. Budget is fairly open. I haven't bought a new bike in many years, so this will be a special treat for my 60th b-day next year. Up to maybe $4K.
2. Absolutely sweat and get exercise. Cycling is my main fitness activity, I like staying fit, and I love to eat, so I need to be able to ride to keep my heart and legs strong and to burn calories -- but not so hard that I am miserable. That happens now if I try to keep up with hubby; thus, the e-bike. In addition to longer fitness rides (25-50 miles), I also want to be able to do utility rides like we do now on our folders, to the farmer's market, grocery store, etc. Those would be shorter rides (10-15 miles) with a purpose. So a rear rack, or ability to add one, is a must.
3. No. Don't want it at all. I am not looking for a glorified scooter or motorbike but a bicycle. ;)

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Brendon@TBSM

Well-Known Member
Thank you, I will!

Welcome to e bikes, they're all fun!

The Specialized Turbo Creo SL does come in the XS frame in the carbon variant. If you want flat bars it's not too much trouble to convert for what it's worth.

Otherwise the low entry Como small sounds like it'll work well, I'd recommend going with the 5.0, I commute on a Vado 5.0 to the shop and the upgraded brakes, drivetrain, motor, and battery are totally worth it.