Canada - Stepover casual rider needs help going up hills

tyleeds

New Member
Region
Canada
Hi everybody. I'm looking for an ebike.

I'm 280lbs and 5'9" and in decent shape (for my size) but my town is pretty hilly and I feel like I need an assist to enjoy biking again. I'm looking to do this purely for leisure, and it's unlikely that I'm going to be taking 70km bike rides regularly. So I'm looking for something approachable. I'm not looking for a motorcycle by another name, so having something that intuitively assists with pedaling is important to me.

All that said, more is better with batteries and I'd rather have excess hill-climbing power and range and not need it rather than not enough (naturally).

I've always liked the upright position of cruiser bikes so some of the step through models seem nice.

I've been looking at fat-tire bikes like the Voltbike Yukon or Radrover Step through. Not because I actually expect to go biking on snow or sand but because I've found that airing up a thicker tire seems to support my weight without distorting the tires too much. I suppose I could use a narrower tire and pump it to much higher PSI, so I'm open to either. A 3" tire seems "right".. is this a thing?

I guess my questions would be:
Fat tire or normal?
Any issues with stepover frames I should be aware of?
Hub motor or midline?
Is 500w enough for my purposes as stated? Do I need to import an American bicycle or get something that can be modified? (I'm both mechanically and electrically inclined, so not afraid if I have to.. but would rather just buy something that worked out of the box)
Trying to stay around $2500(CDN) if possible.

Looking for suggestions on bikes that I can acquire in Canada without too much fuss.

Thanks in advance!
 

indianajo

Well-Known Member
"fat tires" have lower rated pressure, so they don't tend to be for heavier weights. Just snow & powder sand. Look at the sidewall carefully in a store & see if I'm wrong. By contrast, 2.1" or 2.4" tires can usually be bought in the 65 PSI grade. Although the LBS did stick me with one 40 PSI limited 1.75" tire, that kept bumping the rim after I installed it. I weigh 170, the bike is 94 with tools, water, accessories, motor, battery, I carry up to 80 lb groceries or ag supplies, so 2.1" tire should be able to handle you. Not a lot of fenders can handle 2.4" tires.
My 500 W geared hub motor (mac12t) can boost me and cargo @ 330 lb gross up a 15% grade. It can also start from a stop on that grade, even if I don't pedal. You'll see in picture, I'm carrying that cargo on a step through frame. No issues with a yubabike. Carried an A/C home last week to salvage the fan motor.
Mid drives are more natural feeling, especially the ones with torque sensors. Try a yamaha if you can find one, they are supposed to be great. Giant wasn't it that used them?
I ride a geared hub motor because I like to pedal to keep my heart/lungs in shape. Just no more 6 hour ordeals into a 25 mph headwind at 4.5 mph like September, 2017. Was 96 deg F that day, too!
Geared hub motors don't drag unpowered. Neither do mid-drives brose, shimano steps, yamaha. There is a high end Bosch that has a one-way clutch to not drag unpowered, but most of them do drag. All that exercise paid off last year when I had Covid for 137 days. No oxygen required. Mid drives do use up chains 2 to 5 times faster than hub motors, and when the electricity motor or chain fails, you have to push the bike to a place a tow truck can reach you. I've pedaled a worn out geared hub motor 7 miles out the camp & 27 miles home, without drag. Just I couldn't push it backwards. (4500 miles on that $221 ebikeling hub motor).
I'll let you read court reviews and tour the bike shops to see what is available.
At 8-10 mph average you won't need a suspension. Suspension adds $1000 to cost of bike. Fat tire helps smooth bumps, but not at 60 psi. I like my trek 160 mm cable pull brakes, much better than rim brakes in the rain. These will stop me with full cargo in about 30' at 30 mph at the bottom of a hill if a deer jumps out at me. Need pad adjustment every 1000 miles, takes 2 minutes. Pad replacement was about 30 minutes @ 4000 miles, no issues.
Read the "known problems" thread about any brand you like, under bikes by brand category. Some really cheap components used out there: stretchy spokes, cables, undersized rims in some cases. I had enough of that in kiddie MTB's I was riding before I bought this yubabike.
Happy shopping.
 
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theemartymac

Well-Known Member
Hi everybody. I'm looking for an ebike.

I'm 280lbs and 5'9" and in decent shape (for my size) but my town is pretty hilly and I feel like I need an assist to enjoy biking again. I'm looking to do this purely for leisure, and it's unlikely that I'm going to be taking 70km bike rides regularly. So I'm looking for something approachable. I'm not looking for a motorcycle by another name, so having something that intuitively assists with pedaling is important to me.

All that said, more is better with batteries and I'd rather have excess hill-climbing power and range and not need it rather than not enough (naturally).

I've always liked the upright position of cruiser bikes so some of the step through models seem nice.

I've been looking at fat-tire bikes like the Voltbike Yukon or Radrover Step through. Not because I actually expect to go biking on snow or sand but because I've found that airing up a thicker tire seems to support my weight without distorting the tires too much. I suppose I could use a narrower tire and pump it to much higher PSI, so I'm open to either. A 3" tire seems "right".. is this a thing?

I guess my questions would be:
Fat tire or normal?
Any issues with stepover frames I should be aware of?
Hub motor or midline?
Is 500w enough for my purposes as stated? Do I need to import an American bicycle or get something that can be modified? (I'm both mechanically and electrically inclined, so not afraid if I have to.. but would rather just buy something that worked out of the box)
Trying to stay around $2500(CDN) if possible.

Looking for suggestions on bikes that I can acquire in Canada without too much fuss.

Thanks in advance!
Look at Biktrix (Saskatchewan), Rize (Vancouver), as well for some other Canadian options in your price range.

Depending on your city and those hills you mention, you could certainly 'get by' comfortably with a good 500-750w hub for leisure use in most towns. A mid drive would be luxurious and all the power you would ever need in even North Vancouver, but will probably coax you over the 3K CAD point. Torque sensors are nice for casual seamless riding, and most of the mid-drives seem to have them now, but check. There are a number of hub drives with torque sensors creeping onto the market, so worth looking around. Not as many in your price range though.

As for the fat tire, they are great for us big guys if you plan to use the assist all the time. They suck unpowered. I have two fat tire Rize bikes, a 750 hub, and 1000w mid drive, and the tires handle my 300lbs easily at ~20psi. I have gone up to 28psi for testing, but the limited extra range and reduced rolling resistance obtained isn't significant enough to offset the better ride at slightly lower pressures. I have 2.75" tired MTB bikes as well, and they ride fine at 55 psi with premium suspension forks, but the fat tires are really nice across a wide range of terrain and less particular about suspension. My conventional bikes are still taken camping and travelling though as they are just easier to handle at ~30lbs vs ~80lbs for the electrics.

3" tires are a thing, but not stock, so you would have to buy the fat tire bike and swap in the tires. A few guys on here have done it and report good results. I might try it on my hub bike once I burn off the stock tires a bit more.

Most of the stepover bikes in the category you mentioned tend to have a high stand over height. With my two bikes for instance, the mid drive frame is a 2" lower stand over than the hub frame, but both bikes otherwise ride similarly and feel similarly sized once you are rolling. Both my bikes do feel very large though and I don't have a ton of spare room when standing flat footed. I'm 6'0" with a shorter 30" inseam though, so just something to consider at your height and check to see if there are multiple frame sizes (often not). Other than that, the only downside to the stepover frame is that the larger framed ebikes can be a little harder to mount with racks and bags on, but not enough to turn you off. If you have any flexibility/mobility/balance issues, or a particularly short inseam, the step through is probably better.

And the brand names like Bosch, Yamaha, Brose, etc are obviously better drive systems, but unobtainable in Canada under 4-5K. The few that do come in just under 4K tend to have low weight capacities, and some stores may not even sell it to you due to the warranty conflict. The original bikes you mentioned and the ones I added are generally all good for 280-400lbs depending on model.
 

Timpo

Well-Known Member
Hi everybody. I'm looking for an ebike.

I'm 280lbs and 5'9" and in decent shape (for my size) but my town is pretty hilly and I feel like I need an assist to enjoy biking again. I'm looking to do this purely for leisure, and it's unlikely that I'm going to be taking 70km bike rides regularly. So I'm looking for something approachable. I'm not looking for a motorcycle by another name, so having something that intuitively assists with pedaling is important to me.

All that said, more is better with batteries and I'd rather have excess hill-climbing power and range and not need it rather than not enough (naturally).

I've always liked the upright position of cruiser bikes so some of the step through models seem nice.

I've been looking at fat-tire bikes like the Voltbike Yukon or Radrover Step through. Not because I actually expect to go biking on snow or sand but because I've found that airing up a thicker tire seems to support my weight without distorting the tires too much. I suppose I could use a narrower tire and pump it to much higher PSI, so I'm open to either. A 3" tire seems "right".. is this a thing?

I guess my questions would be:
Fat tire or normal?
Any issues with stepover frames I should be aware of?
Hub motor or midline?
Is 500w enough for my purposes as stated? Do I need to import an American bicycle or get something that can be modified? (I'm both mechanically and electrically inclined, so not afraid if I have to.. but would rather just buy something that worked out of the box)
Trying to stay around $2500(CDN) if possible.

Looking for suggestions on bikes that I can acquire in Canada without too much fuss.

Thanks in advance!
You said you're in Canada so here goes:

Rize RX
https://rizebikes.com/products/rize-rx
Rize RX PRO

That's powered by Bafang Ultra motor, mid drive, 48V 19.2Ah battery, hydraulic brakes, etc.
That's a lot of bike for the money.
 

Timpo

Well-Known Member
Actually, if OP is mechanically inclined, then RadRover isn't a bad idea.

Rad isn't the best bike for the price (in my opinion) but the biggest strength for Rad is there are so many aftermarket upgrade options.

So, RadRover isn't a bad idea especially for someone who is mechanically inclined.
 

tyleeds

New Member
Region
Canada
The Rize RX Pro checks a lot of boxes but is kinda spendy and seemingly sold out.

What about the smaller-wheel bikes (like city bikes and foldables?) It seems like the smaller wheel diameter would work like a natural gear-down. Would I be right in assuming that a smaller wheel diameter would be better at climbing hills but sacrifice top speed? I've never ridden one of those before, so how are they to pedal? Does it feel "natural" to pedal?
 

Cyklefanatic

Well-Known Member
If at all possible try to ride the bike you are thinking of buying. That way you can test the hills and also get a feel for the comfort level. Reading specs on a website is hard to translate into what a bike “feels”like. Also you want good brakes to make sure you can stop when you need to. Hydraulic brakes stop faster and with more control so if your budget allows get them.
 

Dewey

Well-Known Member
The Rize RX Pro checks a lot of boxes but is kinda spendy and seemingly sold out.

What about the smaller-wheel bikes (like city bikes and foldables?) It seems like the smaller wheel diameter would work like a natural gear-down. Would I be right in assuming that a smaller wheel diameter would be better at climbing hills but sacrifice top speed? I've never ridden one of those before, so how are they to pedal? Does it feel "natural" to pedal?
You mean like the Voltbike Mariner? Yes you’re right. The EBR review is here. The VoltBike FAQ’s say it can carry a rider up to 300lb
 

theemartymac

Well-Known Member
The Rize RX Pro checks a lot of boxes but is kinda spendy and seemingly sold out.

What about the smaller-wheel bikes (like city bikes and foldables?) It seems like the smaller wheel diameter would work like a natural gear-down. Would I be right in assuming that a smaller wheel diameter would be better at climbing hills but sacrifice top speed? I've never ridden one of those before, so how are they to pedal? Does it feel "natural" to pedal?
The sprockets/crankset will determine the pedal gear ratio more than the tire size, but it can create a better ratio for a smaller hub motor at the sacrifice of top speed. You seldom see hubs above 500w on the folding bikes, but that seems fine for most users.

There is a chance that the crankset sprocket has been upsized though to compensate for the smaller tire and that will mean no real pedal difference. The Voltbike Mariner for example lists a 52T front sprocket which is noticeably larger than the 44-48T sprockets generally used on the larger-tired bikes. That might negate any advantage of the smaller tires and make them feel very similar for pedal effort. That can always be changed though for a reasonable cost, and if you are going down in front sprocket size, you can get away with shortening the stock chain vs replacing it with a longer one, which is required anytime you place a larger front sprocket on the bike (for more top speed).

Some folks will mention that the small folders have narrower and "flimsier" handlebars, as anything with more joints means more flex. They might have slightly less adjustability in the riding position and accessories, but that just seems to come down to whether or not you can adapt to them. They are certainly quite popular, and have distinct advantages for some folks.
 

theemartymac

Well-Known Member
The Rize RX Pro checks a lot of boxes but is kinda spendy and seemingly sold out.
You are going to find a real challenge to get anything in stock at the moment. Obviously a test ride is highly preferred, but you will probably either have to pre-order for your choice, or compromise and accept a basic bike from limited stock. Being in Canada, our smaller shops seldom keep much stock right now and it goes out as fast as it comes in. All last year was the same, and local shops here were only able to keep some stock in the very bottom of the range, or the premium bikes over $5-6K. Here in Victoria, by last June, there was barely a new E-bike to be found in any showroom in the entire city.
 

Timpo

Well-Known Member
The Rize RX Pro checks a lot of boxes but is kinda spendy and seemingly sold out.

What about the smaller-wheel bikes (like city bikes and foldables?) It seems like the smaller wheel diameter would work like a natural gear-down. Would I be right in assuming that a smaller wheel diameter would be better at climbing hills but sacrifice top speed? I've never ridden one of those before, so how are they to pedal? Does it feel "natural" to pedal?
I am not sure getting a small diameter wheel will help you.

Bafang for example, offers slow winding and fast winding motor. Determined by T of coil I believe.

So if ebike companies are using fast winding motor for small wheel, then it's not like you're getting much performance difference.
But if they're using the same motor, yeah smaller wheels would give more advantage.