Best bike for short but hilly rides - possibly with child seat on back

anna77

New Member
Hello, I'm in the market to buy my first e-bike and I'm so glad I found this site and forum.
Hope you can offer recommendations and suggestions - I'm looking for an e-bike under 2K, and ideally even under 1.5K.

Expected use:
-Short (up to 5 miles) rides from house to train station and around town, in a fairly hilly area (some steep hills, some long gradual inclines) so will need a motor that can handle hills (although I would mostly use 'pedal assist')
-In the future, if possible, I would like to mount a child seat on the back and take my toddler with me for short rides. Does anyone know whether the e-bikes with racks can indeed be fitted with a child seat?
-I'm an 5'8/140 lbs female, relatively fit

I have looked at the reviews in the 'affordable e-bikes' category and so far thought of the following:

-Voltbike Elegant - looks great and the price is right - will the motor be strong enough to handle the hills?
-EZ Pedaler T350 - looks good as well, any thoughts on this model vs the Voltbike for example?
-E-Joe Anggun 3.0 - also goods good but also quite a bit more expensive than the other two models I saw

I wanted to buy from a local bike shop in my home town, but they have a fairly limited selection so it looks like I'll have to travel to find a dealer that sells any of those, or order only, so hoping for some advice as to what might be solid choices - many thanks in advance for any suggestions!
 

George S.

Well-Known Member
Great, specific questions. There is a real lack of information when it comes to hill climbing. It's the first question people should ask. There are three basic kinds of ebikes. The first is low powered (350 watts) hub motors. The second is high power (legal) hub motors, around 750 watts. Finally, there are mid-drives. Low powered hubs, like the Elegant, can handle less steep hills, especially with a light rider and help. Precisely where you would feel it is too much work is tough. Motors are different, batteries are different. I'm pretty sure a 750 watt motor would get the job done. I think the step up from the Elegant is the Interceptor, for example.

Mid-drives tend to be expensive unless you use the Bafang, generally built as part of kit. The mid-drive uses the gears of the bike, the rear sprockets, so it can work to slowly climb a hill. The motor will be going fast, which is what you want with an electric motor, using a climbing gear. Hub motors bog down climbing hills. There's a point where they got hot and won't work.

You might try climbing the hills with a regular bike and see how much 'help' you want. You might try using a smartphone map program like Ride with GPS, which can tell you the grade, the %, and that can be helpful.
 

Nirmala

Active Member
I would second everything that George said. I have a Magnum Ui5 with a 350 watt rear hub motor and it works great 99% of the time. The only place where it sometimes bogs down is on steep or very long hills. I have learned to adapt my riding to prevent the motor overheating, but if I was shopping today for an ebike, I would consider a larger motor or possibly a mid-drive system. Hub motors do have the advantage when it comes to acceleration and speediness, but that might not be an important consideration for you.

The other equally important consideration is service and repairs. Ebikes are more complicated than a regular bike and it seems that the technology is still evolving, so if you can find a shop that will for certain service your new ebike, that will make life easier in the long run, unless you are very handy at working on bikes already. From what I read on here, the Bosch mid-drive system is relatively very reliable, but as George mentioned, mid-drive bikes are generally more expensive and so tend to be out of your price range. Although, the higher priced bikes also tend to have overall better components, not just better electric drives. Again, if you can find a shop that will work on your ebike, then you could possibly consider a used one to bring the price down. And sometimes the shops themselves are selling off last year's models for healthy discounts.
 

Nirmala

Active Member
Lectric-cycles in Arizona also has a range of mid-drive bikes with motors up to 750 watts if one of their styles works better for you. Their systems also have shift-sensing which is a nice feature. In addition, they can order just about any bike out there and convert it to a mid-drive electric for you. Here is their website:
http://www.lectriccycles.com/mid-drive-electric-bicycles/

Probably a mid drive from them with 350 watts or maybe 500 watts would still be plenty as you can use the lower gears on the bike to enable the motor to climb up hills, albeit at a lower speed than a hub motor. Fortunately for you with the lower distances you want to cover, you do not need to get a larger battery which ups the cost.
 

anna77

New Member
George and Nirmala, thank you so much for your responses - all very useful information! I'll definitely go with the advice to try the hills on regular bike first to see how much 'help' I actually need, and will take it from there. Mid-drive 350 watts or 500 watts motor sound like good options, if I can find them in my price range. Still hoping to buy one locally indeed for the service aspect, but so far have not found shops with good (affordable) e-bike selections (Westchester). Thanks again for your feedback - much appreciated!
 

Tara D.

Active Member
I like the a2b Metro its no longer made but you might be able to find one used in your price range. Now I believe its the Octave which is higher then you mentioned you would like to spend.
Here is Courts review of the bike. http://electricbikereview.com/a2b/metro/


I really like this bike paired with the Bobike child seat. It looks like she is using the Exclusive Maxi . The bike stays still while loading the child, which is great when you are loading and unloading by yourself, thanks to the Double Leg Kickstand. The Volt bike and the E-Joe Anggun 3.0 does not have that so if you went with either of those options I would get a different stand for it.
 

anna77

New Member
Thanks Tara for your thoughts! Great suggestion re. the Double Leg Kickstand. Hadn't thought about that yet. I love the Bobike child seats (perhaps I'm a bit biased, being Dutch :) I already have a child seat though so will try first if I can use the one I already have.
 

Temecularider

New Member
Great, specific questions. There is a real lack of information when it comes to hill climbing. It's the first question people should ask. There are three basic kinds of ebikes. The first is low powered (350 watts) hub motors. The second is high power (legal) hub motors, around 750 watts. Finally, there are mid-drives. Low powered hubs, like the Elegant, can handle less steep hills, especially with a light rider and help. Precisely where you would feel it is too much work is tough. Motors are different, batteries are different. I'm pretty sure a 750 watt motor would get the job done. I think the step up from the Elegant is the Interceptor, for example.

Mid-drives tend to be expensive unless you use the Bafang, generally built as part of kit. The mid-drive uses the gears of the bike, the rear sprockets, so it can work to slowly climb a hill. The motor will be going fast, which is what you want with an electric motor, using a climbing gear. Hub motors bog down climbing hills. There's a point where they got hot and won't work.

You might try climbing the hills with a regular bike and see how much 'help' you want. You might try using a smartphone map program like Ride with GPS, which can tell you the grade, the %, and that can be helpful.
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I've learned with my geared hubmotor e-bike that even hills I can climb without motor help are not much easier WITH motor help if speed drops below around 6.5mph. This speed seems fairly critical for MY motor, and though my freewheel gears allow good pedal power down to under 5mph, I try to avoid dropping down that low if I'm using pedal assist. So much for my previous thoughts that I cold get up anything with a low enough granny gear, esp wit the motor helping.

I'm currently satisfied with my present gearing and motor assist, but point this out to remind that only the mid-motor types can grind up steep slopes at very low speed using a lot of motor assist and STILL cruise had higher speed.
 

JoePah

Well-Known Member
I would avoid buying any used electric bikes. You cannot determine how close they are to failure, and without a warranty, spending $500 on a repair is nothing if you don't take care of it yourself.. I owned an A2B metro and loved it, but they are very heavy over 75 lbs, and have an outdated design.

I'd call Crazy Lenny in Wisconsin and see what he has for leftover models and demos. They come with a warranty

http://www.crazylennysebikes.com