Best Ebike for hills (US)

KinCalifornia

New Member
Region
USA
Hello,

I currently have a Trek Verve+ 2 low step. At first I was riding on a fairly flat bike trail and was happy with it (except for the awful chain slippage problem). However, a couple months ago I moved to a hilly town in the Sierra foothills, and am finding it a challenge to climb the steep hills on the Verve+ 2.

Do I need a throttle, or is there a pedal assist with awesome hill-climbing power? I have considered the Trek Allant and the Specialized Como or Vado but am lost as to what specs to prioritize.

Here are my needs:

- Low-step
- Prefer more upright bike
- Powerful hill climbing
- Primarily for road riding (20-30+ miles), but needs to handle some dirt or gravel trails
- Power more important than top speed
 

Timpo

Well-Known Member
If you have a good budget (since it won't be cheap) call WattWagons.

However, if you go for Biktrix Juggernaut, you will still get the Ultra motor.

Dost can also be an option, but it only has BBS02 motor, but still better than current one you have.
 

indianajo

Well-Known Member
Well, you are stuck with your Bosch Active line mid drive on your current frame. It drags if you unpower it.
I climb 15% grades with gross weight 330 lb including tools, panniers, battery, motor, dual leg stand, 160 lb me & up to 80 lb groceries or ag supplies. I have a 500 watt Mac12t geared hub motor, which I added to an unpowered yubabike bodaboda which already had ratios of 32:32 to 52:11 (8 rear, 3 front). I can climb anything around here. The motor will start that weight on the grade, with no pedaling by me. I can pedal up those grades unpowered in 32:28 if I want to. The motor+controller+throttle was $700 and the 48 v 17.5 ah battery was $630. My cargo bike was $1500, panniers dual leg stand & bread basket were $400, freight was free with the accessories.
What geared hub motor will NOT do is climb 1000' in an hour. It would overheat. Long sustained maximum slope slow grades cause too much slip, and the motor overheats. They don't cool as well as mid-drives. Hub motors do use fewer chains than mid-drives. My first KMC lasted 5000 miles. It never slips. I've adjusted one shifter stop screw in 6000 miles, no other shifter monkeying. I have cable pull disk 160 mm brakes, that need adjusting every 1000 miles ( 2 minutes) and new pads on one end at 5000 miles.
I ride my bike 30 miles & ~80 hills on my warm weather commute to my summer camp, pedaling unpowered about 2/3 of the way. The battery discharges from 52 to 45 volts. BTW I have the motor on the front, to allow 8 speed rear sprocket cluster and balance the bike better. You can't buy that because some idiot would ride across muddy rock, wet wood bridge, wet steel plate, with that, fall and sue the company. I just pedal or walk the bike in those circumstances. I don't need power every minute of every day. I do need it for days when the headwind is 25 mph, and my 30 miles would take 6 hours @ 140 bpm. 3 1/2 hours is enough exercise.
Happy shopping.
 

PatriciaK

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Pacific Northwest and Piedmont Triad
My Giant (now Momentum, a Giant subsidiary) La Free E+2 class one mid-drive does a great job for me on hilly Whidbey Island, WA. Step through, upright riding position, multi-sensor, worth checking out!
 

Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
Region
Europe
City
Brwinów (PL)
I have considered the Trek Allant and the Specialized Como or Vado but am lost as to what specs to prioritize.

Here are my needs:

- Low-step
- Prefer more upright bike
- Powerful hill climbing
- Primarily for road riding (20-30+ miles), but needs to handle some dirt or gravel trails
- Power more important than top speed
Specialized Turbo Como 5.0 Low-Entry ticks almost all the boxes:
  • It is a comfort e-bike where you can rest your feet on the ground during ride stops still remaining in the seat, with more upright riding position, and swept back bars
  • One of the most powerful mid-drive motors with 90 Nm of torque and 550 W peak power
  • Ideal for riding roads; the stock tyres could be replaced with Schwalbe Johnny Watts 27.5 x 2.35" ones for added mild off-road terrain riding capability
  • Both 550 W peak power / 90 Nm torque and 28 mph top speed (U.S.)
@Sierratim has cleared a 31% climb around Nevada City with his Vado 5.0, sporting the same motor as Como 5.0. Actually, Specialized 1.3 motor is an e-MTB one.
 
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PatriciaK

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Pacific Northwest and Piedmont Triad
Specialized Turbo Como 5.0 Low-Entry ticks almost all the boxes:
  • It is a comfort e-bike where you can rest your feet on the ground during ride stops still remaining in the seat, with more upright riding position, and swept back bars
  • One of the most powerful mid-drive motors with 90 Nm of torque and 550 W peak power
  • Ideal for riding roads; the stock tyres could be replaced with Schwalbe Johnny Watts 27.5 x 2.35" ones for added mild terrain riding capability
  • Both 550 W peak power / 90 Nm torque and 28 mph top speed (U.S.)
@Sierratim has cleared a 31% climb around Nevada City with his Vado 5.0, sporting the same motor as Como 5.0. Actually, Specialized 1.3 motor is an e-MTB one.
One of the few things I cannot do with my La Free is have my toes touching the ground while seated (I prefer a pretty full leg extension while pedaling). If that's important, La Free is probably not right for you 😨.
 

Art Deco

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Selinsgrove
Well, you are stuck with your Bosch Active line mid drive on your current frame. It drags if you unpower it.
I climb 15% grades with gross weight 330 lb including tools, panniers, battery, motor, dual leg stand, 160 lb me & up to 80 lb groceries or ag supplies. I have a 500 watt Mac12t geared hub motor, which I added to an unpowered yubabike bodaboda which already had ratios of 32:32 to 52:11 (8 rear, 3 front). I can climb anything around here. The motor will start that weight on the grade, with no pedaling by me. I can pedal up those grades unpowered in 32:28 if I want to. The motor+controller+throttle was $700 and the 48 v 17.5 ah battery was $630. My cargo bike was $1500, panniers dual leg stand & bread basket were $400, freight was free with the accessories.
What geared hub motor will NOT do is climb 1000' in an hour. It would overheat. Long sustained maximum slope slow grades cause too much slip, and the motor overheats. They don't cool as well as mid-drives. Hub motors do use fewer chains than mid-drives. My first KMC lasted 5000 miles. It never slips. I've adjusted one shifter stop screw in 6000 miles, no other shifter monkeying. I have cable pull disk 160 mm brakes, that need adjusting every 1000 miles ( 2 minutes) and new pads on one end at 5000 miles.
I ride my bike 30 miles & ~80 hills on my warm weather commute to my summer camp, pedaling unpowered about 2/3 of the way. The battery discharges from 52 to 45 volts. BTW I have the motor on the front, to allow 8 speed rear sprocket cluster and balance the bike better. You can't buy that because some idiot would ride across muddy rock, wet wood bridge, wet steel plate, with that, fall and sue the company. I just pedal or walk the bike in those circumstances. I don't need power every minute of every day. I do need it for days when the headwind is 25 mph, and my 30 miles would take 6 hours @ 140 bpm. 3 1/2 hours is enough exercise.
Happy shopping.
/offtopic One good point that @indianajo makes that many people miss is that headwinds can be as bad as hills especially if you ride in an upright position or are hauling groceries or gear./end offtopic
 

Marci jo

Well-Known Member
/offtopic One good point that @indianajo makes that many people miss is that headwinds can be as bad as hills especially if you ride in an upright position or are hauling groceries or gear./end offtopic
Headwinds are worse than hills. With a hill you can see the beginning and the end. Winds are invisible and never end until you turn around. Big nasty battery drainers.
 

Dallant

Well-Known Member
Headwinds are worse than hills. With a hill you can see the beginning and the end. Winds are invisible and never end until you turn around. Big nasty battery drainers.
On the other hand, tailwinds help a great deal also! I’ve fought lots of nasty headwinds, it’s one of the great things an ebike helps with!
 

Dallant

Well-Known Member
Specialized Turbo Como 5.0 Low-Entry ticks almost all the boxes:
  • It is a comfort e-bike where you can rest your feet on the ground during ride stops still remaining in the seat, with more upright riding position, and swept back bars
  • One of the most powerful mid-drive motors with 90 Nm of torque and 550 W peak power
  • Ideal for riding roads; the stock tyres could be replaced with Schwalbe Johnny Watts 27.5 x 2.35" ones for added mild terrain riding capability
  • Both 550 W peak power / 90 Nm torque and 28 mph top speed (U.S.)
@Sierratim has cleared a 31% climb around Nevada City with his Vado 5.0, sporting the same motor as Como 5.0. Actually, Specialized 1.3 motor is an e-MTB one.
So does the Allant+7 Lowstep (2020 Dutch Ebike of the Year) with the award winning Bosch CX (85Nm torque) with 500wh battery, the same hill-climbing combo used in some of Trek’s best EMTB ebikes. Though you won’t get to 28 mph, the Allant also comes ready for a variety of terrains with great SCHWALBE G-One All-Arounds.
 

Art Deco

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Selinsgrove
Well, the road riding up to meet a cyclist may not actually be a good thing ☘️🤣☘️🤣☘️!
I think the Irish meant the road would lift you up rather than you having to climb the mountains. Ireland doesn't have much flat land.
It had been translated to English and actually lost some of its authentic meaning when some words had been mistranslated, i.e. ‘rise’ should really be ‘succeed’, so the meaning is similar to the French "Bon Voyage" ... a successful journey.
 
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Sierratim

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Nevada City, CA & Paradise Valley, AZ
Headwinds are worse than hills. With a hill you can see the beginning and the end. Winds are invisible and never end until you turn around. Big nasty battery drainers.
Here on the west slope of the Sierra Nevada mountains we often have the pleasure of riding into the wind for both legs of our out and back rides, thanks at least partially to the orographic efffect....🤔
 

Art Deco

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Selinsgrove
Had to google orographic. It's like "lake effect" around the great lakes ... weather caused by proximity to the lakes. Duh. Anyway you have some hills with your headwinds or headwinds with your hills. A twofer indeed. No wonder you need to carry a spare battery.
 

Sierratim

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Nevada City, CA & Paradise Valley, AZ
The major effect on the mountain slopes is caused by dense cold air on the peaks in the AM falling downslope into the still cool valleys. Later in the day the valleys warm and the breeze/wind reverses as the hot less dense valley air rises upslope. Still haven't learned to ride downslope in the AM and upslope in the PM. 🤣
 

Johnny

Well-Known Member
Hello,

I currently have a Trek Verve+ 2 low step. At first I was riding on a fairly flat bike trail and was happy with it (except for the awful chain slippage problem). However, a couple months ago I moved to a hilly town in the Sierra foothills, and am finding it a challenge to climb the steep hills on the Verve+ 2.

Do I need a throttle, or is there a pedal assist with awesome hill-climbing power? I have considered the Trek Allant and the Specialized Como or Vado but am lost as to what specs to prioritize.

Here are my needs:

- Low-step
- Prefer more upright bike
- Powerful hill climbing
- Primarily for road riding (20-30+ miles), but needs to handle some dirt or gravel trails
- Power more important than top speed

First try to switch to a wide range cassette like this one microshift 11-46. The steeper the hill the slower you have to go and to keep your cadence high at slower speeds you need a larger cog. 11-46 will be a very big step up which should solve your problem.

If you still wanna change the bike and 20mph limit is fine, instead of making the same mistake and going for overpriced hybrid bikes like allant, como, look into emtb offerings like powerfly which come with wide range cassette, clearance for wide tires etc. to ease steep climbs, handle non-smooth terrain and be comfortable.