Bike for Wife: Torquey mid-drive, throttle, step-thru, belt?

NerdAlert

New Member
Region
USA
TL;DR Wife wants an eBike to keep up with my Juggernaut Ultra. Is it worth shelling out for the WW Helios to get it all, or would the DŌST Drop, Biktrix Jugg Ultra Duo, or Sondors LX/Cruiser be a better buy? Am I missing other options to consider? I welcome any critique of my thought process or corrections to information gathered.

My wife is 5' 8" ~175 lbs. The bike will see mild to moderate usage in a hilly area and will be used with child carrier from time to time if I'm not pulling the trailer. I'm partial to Bafang as an owner of a Biktrix Jugg Ultra 1000 (2018) which I LOVE. Wife loves riding my bike and the effortless hill climbs. With lower back and knee trouble, she needs a stepthrough frame with low standover height, upright riding position, and a throttle to get going.

While I'm perfectly happy maintaining a chain and derailleur on my own bike, I am very interested in a belt drive and IGH for longevity and lower maintenance for my wife's.

Base requirements:
  • Step-thru frame (Low standover height under 20 inches)
  • Mid-drive motor with plenty of torque - Bosch/Schimano/Brose just aren't torquey enough
  • Downtube integrated battery (Sharkpack expansion optional)
  • 30+ mile range
  • Throttle (Class 2, ability to remove speed restriction a plus)
  • MTB/Plus-sized wheelset
  • Hydraulic disc brakes
  • Suspension fork a plus
  • Included rack and fenders a plus (rack must support child seat)
  • North American shop with proven support
  • 2+ year warranty on electronics a plus
Chain drive

DŌST DROP - DŌST Bikes (dostbikes.com)
I found the Drop while perusing the EBR mid-drive reviews and there's a lot to like about it. Decent components and well put together with attention to detail. I've used a Bafang Ultra (G510 with metal gear) for a few years, so I like and trust how heavy duty and overbuilt it is. I worry whether the BBS02 will hold up as well with its nylon gearing and potential for overheating.

Pros:
  • Price is well within budget (~$2800 USD)
  • Great looking (wife likes it)
  • Integrated rack with 100 lbs capacity, fenders
  • Integrated lights
  • Gear sensor
  • Chain guard
Cons:
  • Cadence sensor only
  • Integrated battery option has midling capacity (14Ah)
  • BBS02 motor (Is it trustworthy?
  • Can't easily upgrage to belt drive

Biktrix Juggernaut DUO Ultra Step-Thru (biktrix.com)
I love my Jugg Ultra and had a positive experience with Biktrix and Roshan both buying and with a warranty repair on the Bafang G510 clutch, and I'm a bit of brand loyalist. This option is most comparable with the DŌST Drop, but with a little less polish and a better motor.

Pros:
  • Price in budget (~$3400 USD)
  • Good experience with Biktrix
  • Bafang Ultra M620 motor
  • Cadence and torque sensors
  • Larger integrated battery capacity (17.5Ah)
  • Integrated headlight (though it's kind of meh)
  • Fenders and rack included
  • Chain guard
Cons:
  • Rear rack load capacity unknown
  • No tail light integration
  • Can't easily upgrage to belt drive

Belt drive/Upgradeable from chain drive

SONDORS LX or Cruiser | SONDORS Electric Bikes
These new models from Sondors are decent chain-driven options with the Bafang M620 which could potentially be upgraded to belt drive and Rohloff hub for lower cost than anything prebuilt with that drivetrain combination. The LX is clone of the R&M Nevo with an elevated chainstay and sliding dropout that make a belt conversion straightforward. But does the chain line of the Cruiser allow for upgrading to a belt? The seat stay is split, so they must be planning ahead for a potential upgrade to belt drive versions, right? I don't think I'd consider the Sondors bikes if not upgrading to belt drive (but my mind can be changed).

Pros:
  • Lowest cost (~$2000 USD + ~$2000 for upgrades)
  • Large integrated battery capacity
  • Upgradeable to belt drive and IGH (LX only?)
  • Integrated lights
Cons:
  • No included rack or fenders (LX may not support a rack at all)
  • Unknown accessory options
  • Lower gearset range than alternatives (7sp)
  • No front suspension on Cruiser

Watt Wagons Helios Stepthrough – Watt Wagons (**Unicorn bike**)
I mean it when I say "unicorn bike." It took me a while to find WW, but this bike has it all - even if you're paying for it. Reviews and customer feedback for WW are also very positive, and it's great that pushkar is active on the EBR forums.

Pros:
  • Bafang M620 motor
  • 52V system with 17Ah integrated battery
  • 5A charger included
  • Gates belt and Rohloff hub option from factory
  • Controller upgrade options for improved power delivery or higher wattage
  • Magura MT5e brakes included
  • Warranty extensions offered
  • Frame size options
  • All carbon frame
  • Kinect suspension seatpost included
  • Fenders included
Cons:
  • Highest cost (~$5600 with just Rohloff upgrade)
  • No rack included?
  • Extreme jealousy of my wife's bike

See also:
https://electricbikereview.com/forums/threads/10-step-thru-ebikes-for-consideration.37423/
https://electricbikereview.com/forums/threads/2020-top-10-ebikes-with-the-bafang-g510-ultra.31656/
 

NerdAlert

New Member
Region
USA
I'd vote for the Helios, but I'm bias, since I've already ordered one for me and a step-through for my wife. ;)
I guess that solves the jealousy issue for you 😂

I'm not quite ready to replace my trusty Jugg, but maybe when we start having to commute again I can justify an upgrade
 

NerdAlert

New Member
Region
USA
You could bring the price down by $1,200 by using the SA3 option.
Thanks for the suggestion. I thought about that, given the huge difference in price it would make. But I don't think the SA3's 177% gear range would be enough for us. I was also considering other hub options like Envolio or even Shimano but we figured if we spring for the Helios then we might as well get it with all the nice things 🤑
 

NerdAlert

New Member
Region
USA
Nice analysis. One point: the Helios will come with a rear rack. Weight capacity unknown.
Thanks for letting me know. It shows a rear rack on the CAD drawings in the gallery, but the actual pictures make it hard to tell. I might try reaching out to @pushkar to find out if they have a weight capacity rating for it.
 

ElevenAD

Well-Known Member
look in all honesty that Dost may feel to weak compared to your Ultra,BBS02 is a downgrade! if your happy with your Ultra stick with that motor!
the Sonders bikes are tuned down to 750watts and who knows how long you would have to wait to get your bike, so far i dont think anyone has received an Ultra powered bike from Sonders! Unreal. i would just get another Biktrix or if you must have the belt drive go with Pushkar, at least with Wattwagon you will be able to utilize the Ultra's full potential unlike Sonders.
 

AHicks

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Snow Bird - Summer S.E. Michigan, Winter Gulf Coast North Central Fl.
2 points.
My understanding is the BBS02 is a pretty strong motor, especially in a scenario where it's allowed to cool between high output sessions - like use in rolling hills for instance. There is very little chance you will ever have trouble with the plastic gear, especially with the wife on it. There NO history of that gear being an issue. Consider the guys riding the early plastic geared G510's are NOT having any trouble until they start supplying them with stupid amounts of power.

Second, I believe there's a tendency to get carried away with the number of gears being supplied on some of these new bikes. This is an electric motor for Pete's sake. It's got a VERY wide power band available. It's NOT like a peaky high revving internal combustion engine at all! More gears is NOT necessarily better! You want bragging rights, go for it. If you want practical, it's just not necessary. My bet is after riding it for a while, you're only going to be using MAYBE half of the gears available. My thoughts anyway, FWIW. -Al
 

jjoyce

New Member
@NerdAlert - wanted to see where you wound up after this ...
I am in a similar situation though neither of us have ebikes yet but have been looking for something that can go around town, up & down hills and lug kids & stuff around... i was looking at Evelo today (Aurora/Galaxy for wife, Delta/Aurora for me) and they suggested i consider a cargo bike (front loader) though that opened a whole new world of e-bikes to look into so now i'm even more confused ...
 

Timpo

Well-Known Member
If you can afford it, Helios.
Although I have never seen Helio's actually pictures (computer generated image only), I suspect WattWagons will do a good job.

There's also Eunorau Specter ST
 

Acme

Member
I imagine you could put a roloff hub on any of those other bikes as long as they are not rear suspension. But it would increase the price by > $1500. if you’re not riding off Road a1000W geared hub would probably do everything you needed for a lot less money but if you want to be prepared for any occasion and really get the best bike and no chance of regrets then definitely Wattwagons.
 

Bert Fox

New Member
My wife has an Evelo that uses a Bafang mid drive with a Gates carbon belt and a NuVinci Harmony auto transmission. It has been absolutely trouble free for two years. The company was first rate in answering my early questions and responding to my needs.
 

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