Avid cyclist looking to reduce ~40 mile round-trip commute time

FlatSix911

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Silicon Valley
@Stefan Mikes - I'm not looking to be "no sweat". In fact, my primary motivation is to try to combine a rather lengthy commute with regular exercise to be more time efficient. That said, I am becoming more and more convinced that having extra power and extra battery is a good thing.

I will also say that the fact that the Specialized bikes output my actual power input (via ANT or BT or whichever) is an unreasonably large pro for me. I'm a data junky and love tracking my performance. Without that feature, it is much more difficult to estimate how much effort I'm providing vs the battery. I know this shouldn't be a deciding factor, but back to what @rich c said, everyone has their preferences.

@TheEqualiser - I am definitely considering that possibility. As well as other schemes such as M-W-F by bike, T-Th drive, etc.

@6zfshdb - agreed. Definitely class 3. "Reasonable bike route" = all roads, but by "reasonable" I mean that the roads either have relatively low speed limits or a wide shoulder or are relatively lightly traveled or some combination of all three. No trails or paths involved. Thanks for the MA e-bike handout link.

Take a look at the EBR review of the Best Class 3 electric bikes of 2020. ;)

 

tbar23

Member
Staring down the barrel of a $7k + tax purchase (Domane+ HP 7 vs Creo SL Comp Carbon), I decided that I owed it to myself to try a few more bikes. In this case, more typical “commuter” bikes. I had the chance to test ride:
  1. Bulls Iconic Evo TR1
  2. Specialized Turbo Vado SL EQ (not sure which one)
  3. Bulls Urban Evo
#1 with Bosch Performance Speed Line (Gen 4)
#2 with Specialized SL1.1
#3 with Bosch Performance Line (Gen 2, I think)

I left the shop feeling, very, very torn. As much as I like the Domane+ HP - an awesome bike with an awesome motor - the price tag and intended use are causing doubts for me. I have two very nice, very high end un-assisted road bikes already.
Regarding the three options above, #2 was not even in the running. Similar to my Domane+ vs. Creo SL comparison above, the SL1.1 just can’t match the output of the Bosch motor, and I want to go fast.
Interestingly enough, my butt-o-meter thought the Iconic was faster, but my data indicated otherwise. I was consistently faster with the Urban Evo, and I really don’t need the full-suspension or price tag associated with the Iconic.
I also learned that Bulls is releasing an updated Urban Evo in the coming weeks with a Gen 4 motor and bigger 625Wh pack ... at $4199 retail.
As much as I liked the Domane, I can’t say that I liked it $3000 more.

I apologize for the less detailed write-up on these, but I’m short on time. At present, I’m leaning towards the latest Bulls Urban Evo. I could easily maintain 25+ mph despite the upright position. I liked the comfort of the front shock and beefy tires. It comes with lights, rack, fenders and saves me a bunch.
I’m not crazy about the Purion display / controller, but there are solutions to that problem.

Thanks for the great resources on this forum. You have all been very helpful with many diverse (and equally valid) opinions! I’ll let y’all know when I pull the trigger!
 

WattsUpDude

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
San Francisco, Bay Area
IIRC you previously stated that you really wanted drop bars for the occasional tuck. Is the Grinder Evo on your radar? Or Cannondale Topstone Neo 3? Or back to my original suggestion: Yamaha Civante? :) All of these bikes are very commuter friendly (actually, I'm not sure how easy it would be to add fenders and a rack to the Cannondale).
 

tbar23

Member
@WattsUpDude - I was looking at the Grinder Evo and when my LBS mentioned that Urban Evo was getting an upgrade to Gen 4, I wondered if Grinder Evo might (it is not - or at least not soon). I have looked at so many bikes and so many options, that it is getting difficult to differentiate and remember.
I do like the idea of a Civante, but I have no nearby dealers, and I have been learning a lot by trying these bikes.
I’m pretty sure that if Bulls had a Bosch Gen 4 version of Grinder Evo, I’d buy it. That said, if I look at the frames and geometries of Urban Evo and Grinder Evo, I think they might be the same. A drop bar on an Urban Evo 10 (new Urban Evo) might just turn it into a Grinder Evo with upgraded motor ;)
 

drewberz

Active Member
I think for you to look at Class 3 and dropbars makes the most sense. I was commuting to a job ~22mi. each way pre-covid and charging at work with similar alt. gains.


Issue with a lot of these bike models is that they are so new and you don't really know reliability. In fact, going for an older gen Bosch (G2, G3) motor is not a disadvantage because issues were fleshed out and you know what to expect. Bulls' site shows the Grinder Evo to use a G3, so consider that one over the Urban Evo if not for the dropbars.

I would look at bikes with excellent warranty and high reliability which translates to high uptime (I think that precludes the Juiced variety, but I'm sure someone will disagree).

You mentioned lightweight, but those bikes come at a huge premium still (case in point the Domane's CF frame). So best to stick with alu. Canyon just put one out but it is a) new and b) class 1/20mph.

I personally have a Giant Revolt E+, but my warranty history with Giants has been spotty. My downtime has been high. Thankfully, my dealer has been helpful if not tired out by it.

Not a bad idea to look at the Bulls if the model hasn't been drastically changed. Going with 625Wh as opposed to 500 is a good idea too considering you are a high mileage user and your battery will be useful longer once it gets to 80% capacity. But I've ridden in the flats and the drops of dropbars, and the drops will increase the speed by a couple tenths when going 20+ presumably because of the deeper tuck.
 

Johnny

Well-Known Member
Specialized Turbo Vado SL EQ (not sure which one)

You are trying the wrong bike! I don't know why you are constantly trying out the offerings with 1.1. It is for people who want minimal assistance mostly while climbing and ride the bike unassisted otherwise(that is why I asked which vado you have tried). It is not meant for long distance high speed commuting.
Try the bikes with 1.3 or 2.1 motors (I think that's how they called it, those are competition of gen 4) like "Turbo" Vado.

You are obviously after high power, high speed and it seems like you like domane because it is close to what you are used to. But with high power motors that riding position does not bring much and I would not call domane a good commuter( It seems the thing you liked domane is its higher powered motor). For example that Bulls will be a far better commuter and the additional capacity will make up more than the slight power increase due to aerodynamics (and you can always get a hbar like jones which will give you many riding positions). Riding ebikes with a comfortable position is just as fun.
 
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tbar23

Member
@Johnny : “I don't know why you are constantly trying out the offerings with 1.1.” - I’m at the mercy of what is available, that’s why.

I am also coming around on your perspective with regards to riding position. That is the primary reason for checking out this particular LBS - I knew they had several “fast commuters” - just not any non-SL Vados.

And I just watched Court’s video review of the Bulls Urban Evo - what a great-looking bike. I’m a big fan of the brown leather saddle / grip contrast to the flat black paint.
 

Johnny

Well-Known Member
@Johnny : “I don't know why you are constantly trying out the offerings with 1.1.” - I’m at the mercy of what is available, that’s why.

Oh I see. sorry about that. Maybe you can try another bike shop.

For bosch stay with gen 4 + 625wh battery if possible, gen 2 is a good motor but I would get gen 4 over it whenever I can(their power outputs are the same so gen 4 will not be noticeably faster but it doesn't have any resistance when assist is turned off, lighter etc).

Also take your time if possible. Try as many bikes as you like.
 

drewberz

Active Member
@Johnny : “I don't know why you are constantly trying out the offerings with 1.1.” - I’m at the mercy of what is available, that’s why.

I am also coming around on your perspective with regards to riding position. That is the primary reason for checking out this particular LBS - I knew they had several “fast commuters” - just not any non-SL Vados.

And I just watched Court’s video review of the Bulls Urban Evo - what a great-looking bike. I’m a big fan of the brown leather saddle / grip contrast to the flat black paint.

Did you end up getting a bike?
 

tbar23

Member
Did you end up getting a bike?
I did, but not until about a week ago. I started to re-consider the Trek Domane+ HP and was spinning through all of the options again when a Stromer ST2S popped up on my radar with a heavy discount. It was a slightly older model, but with just 45 km and being offered at 60% off its price new. I assembled it on Monday night and dropped it at a shop to bleed the brakes, install the 3G OMNI-C display upgrade and give it a once-over on Wed. The shop can't believe that the bike was actually used! We just got a foot of snow dumped on us or else I'd be giving it a spin today. Clearly, this bike is quite different than the ones I was looking at but really seems to fit the "high speed commuter" criteria.
I wrote about it here: Finally pulled the trigger
 

FlatSix911

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Silicon Valley
I did, but not until about a week ago. I started to re-consider the Trek Domane+ HP and was spinning through all of the options again when a Stromer ST2S popped up on my radar with a heavy discount.
It was a slightly older model, but with just 45 km and being offered at 60% off its price new.
I assembled it on Monday night and dropped it at a shop to bleed the brakes, install the 3G OMNI-C display upgrade and give it a once-over on Wed.
The shop can't believe that the bike was actually used! We just got a foot of snow dumped on us or else I'd be giving it a spin today.
Clearly, this bike is quite different than the ones I was looking at but really seems to fit the "high speed commuter" criteria.
I wrote about it here: Finally pulled the trigger
Congratulations... sounds like you found a great commuter bike for a great price! $4K vs. $10K MSRP ;)

Stromer ST2 S Review | ElectricBikeReview.com

 
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Johnny

Well-Known Member
That is an excellent pick, one of the best commuter bikes for a 40 mile roundtrip (much better than any mid drive on your list). It may be an older model but it is more customizable than the current top of the line offering.