Canadian Winter Ready Comfort Commuter - Research Stalemate

Amanda

Member
I could really use some help.

I am a non driver because driving isn't practical for my income or my mental health but mostly because I work less than 5km from my current home.

I have been seriously researching electric bikes because while I like biking to work, arriving sweaty or numb legged isn't great. I have a physically demanding retail job and biking home can seem daunting. Having the option on days off to get to and from errand locations would the awesome.

My must haves are:

Easy approach (step thru or unisex frame)
Rear rack
Removable battery (see dilemma below)
Suspension or Comfort saddle
Meets Ontario, Canada standards for sidewalk (cannot be a speed pedelec as I have no licence which I believe is required for road riding above a certain km)

Dilemmas:

Winter temperatures affecting the bike scare me. I'm not bothered by them so much as a pedestrian as I've been bussing for over fifteen years. A dead battery due to a twenty minute ride in below zero celsius temperatures? An expensive nightmare.

I probably wouldn't ride during a major snow event because of the muck and lack of traction. Drivers have reduced visibility and I don't like to make them nervous at unreliable corners. (Drivers scare me lol. I respect them because they can easily squish me.)

Many bikes with batteries that can be removed don't seem to protect the remaining electronic connection whether frog style or downtube. While I have a garage at home to protect my bike, I have an outdoor bike rack at work. Is a bike tarp sufficient protection with precipitation, cold, and winds? I've considered a folding bike and copious begging of my stores manager because I could bring the whole bike indoors. It's a pretty viable idea, but I'm nervous about the weather proofing on these bikes re: rain and snow as I ride because the tube opens up so easily. Am I over thinking it?

No ice storms for my electric bike. I want to buy once and maintain for a long time. Being able to update key parts over time is important.

Is there a bike you the reader would recommend for a five foot four lady that could withstand cold but nice winter days and mild but potentially wet weather?
 

pxpaulx

Well-Known Member
Fat tires are made for winter. Voltbike is a Canadian company, the voltbike mariner would fit the bill nicely.
 

Amanda

Member
I would probably want something with chubbier tires, not sure if I'd commit to fat ones. It's a bike for all seasons, and I wouldn't be riding in heavy snow. More icy and light compacted snow that's been tossed by city plows from the sidewalk.

I like the look of your suggestion, anyone have tips on how to protect where a battery connects to the bike from weather and cold?

Any other solid bikes to recommend? The Gadis Court recently reviewed is gorgeous but once the battery is pulled out I'd be concerned about damage. The folding EJoe Epic is a cutie but the lower the step thru the better. I'm five four at the max.
 

Alex M

Well-Known Member
Hey Amanda, look up EG Maui 500 EX. About same price, step-through, tires 2-something inches. Low 16" frame size.

My beef with bikes like Gadis is - getting an affordable bike and being stuck with expensive proprietary battery doesn't make sense. If you look at the video, the hollow "nest" in downtube is an odd octagon shape. OTH, on EG Maui you can attach any shape battery because the mounting brackets with terminals are simply bolted onto the tube. What they have on EG is called "dolphin pack" or "shark pack", you can get a decent Panasonic, Sony, Samsung etc for less than $400 on Aliexpress or Ebay, 48*12 AH or even 48*15. Can be any shape, dolphin pack, or "bottle", or whatever. Or any battery from a local bike store, as long as it some known brand and is cheaper than your "original", shape won't matter, they can sell it with proper mounting brackets/terminals. Just my 2 cents.

Freezing temps isn't good for Li battery. It will have less capacity in cold, this you can't help. You will have to remove it from the frame every time and keep indoors when not in use. Tarp would protect from direct rain, not from condensation, but those contacts are usually a better quality alloy, won't corrode easily. Electrician's grease on contacts should help.
 

Amanda

Member
I hadn't even thought about battery replacement. EG has a pretty good line in terms of affordability. I'll take a look at that model.

Is electricians grease a hardware type buy? Easy to find?
 

Over50

Well-Known Member
I hadn't even thought about battery replacement...
Battery replacement definitely factored into my purchase decision. The bike I initially thought I would purchase I later ruled out because it had a proprietary battery fitted to the frame. The idea that I wouldn't be able to find a replacement 3 years down the road definitely influenced my decision.
 

dm nelson

Active Member
I hadn't even thought about battery replacement. EG has a pretty good line in terms of affordability. I'll take a look at that model.

Is electricians grease a hardware type buy? Easy to find?
Yes, it's easy to find and works quite well. A little goes a long way!
Dielectric grease is a non-conductive, silicone-based grease that's designed to seal out moisture and prevent corrosion on electrical connectors. It also disrupts the flow of electrical current, which makes it good for lubricating and sealing the rubber parts of electrical connectors.
 

Alex M

Well-Known Member
What Nelson said - dielectric grease. Something like this (Link Removed - No Longer Exists). I ordered mine from McMaster - was cheaper than in Home Depot and I was ordering other items from them anyway. Yes, it is "insulating" grease. Electricians explained me that when 2 metal connectors are in tight contact, the grease is squeezed out - only a thin coat remains in the area of contact, not enough to prevent the current flow but enough to protect from corrosion.

Battery... with a typical 800 cycles according to manufacturers, in everyday use - which is not my pattern - expect signs of aging in less than 3 years. Or sooner if you discharge it deep every time. It's usually not an instant death - manufacturers consider it dead when it can't hold more than 50% capacity, if I'm not mistaken. If you only ride 5 km, you could keep it longer. Capacity will be progressively diminishing until it won't be able to make 5 km fresh after charging.
 
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Robie

Active Member
Hi , check out winter riding in Montreal. I've read in biking magazines and online that there are great numbers who bike all winter there. An ebike shop there could give you some ideas on riding in winter conditions. Good luck.
 

Amanda

Member
Thanks for the tips re:cold and wet.

I was wondering if anyone could chime in on whether a hub motor is going to give me a disadvantage re: traction or overall life over a Mid drive.

Mid drives on older models were huge and clunky looking, but I'm warming up to them because the reviews talk about their efficient energy transfer to chain drives or rear internal hubs. (I love the idea of now having a derailleur but my budget will probably dictate I have one. I never change gears on my relatively flat commute, an internal or automatic system would be splurge and prevent chain dropping and more maintenance)

Mid drive systems seem to be coming down in price and size, but is there a bike with a removable non propriety battery meeting my other specs?
 

DaleQ

New Member
--- Alex M said ---
My beef with bikes like Gadis is - getting an affordable bike and being stuck with expensive proprietary battery doesn't make sense. If you look at the video, the hollow "nest" in downtube is an odd octagon shape.
-----


I agree that proprietary battery shapes are to be avoided.

However, I don't know for certain, but it certainly looks like all the following bikes use the same battery holder and battery;
- eJoe Gadis
- Magnum Mi5
- Juiced CrossCurrent
- Surface604 Rook and Colt
- others???

My guess is that there is one main supplier in China who is tooled for this configuration and it is being used by lots of brands due to
- economies of scale
- good weight distribution
- flexibility in frame style
- flexibility in battery pack size

Oddly enough, all these bikes are close to fitting my preferences for an e-bike.
 
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Gene Keyes

New Member
Hi Amanda,

I know you've already seen my video review of the ultralight 24 lb (11 kg) EBikeBC https://electricbikereview.com/forum/threads/video-review-ultralight-24-lb-folding-e-bike.9419/#post-74726 but I just thought I'd chime in that this bike might fit your situation. I live in Nova Scotia, and have always biked in winter as much as possible (on my non-electric), but haven't had this one long enough to see how it performs in the cold. As mentioned, I did not like the fact that the battery is built in, and needs a techie to replace, but offsetting that is how light and compact this folding e-bike is, which might make it all the easier to bring inside to your place of employment.
 

Alex M

Well-Known Member
With step-through the choice narrows down. Throw in wide-ish tires (not fatties) and you're pretty much down to beach cruisers. Biktrix Stunner comes to mind (haven't seen one inf flesh but it "looks" like its battery is not frame-specific).

I forgot when I saw snow last time :), but if this is your routine, fatties make a lot of sense. But then, fatties are mostly high-step since they are designed with off-roading in mind, hence more rigidity is required.

Yes, in motors and other thingies one Chinese brand prevails - Bafang. Company can be Canadian or American, but they are all made in China and mostly equipped with Bafang. More expensive and very well made Bosh (German?) is popular too.
 
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Amanda

Member
Yeah, those mid drives from Bosch get a lot of good feedback, but the bikes them selves are costly which is totally understandable.

I just stumbled on Dillinger ebikes and found a step thru with a suspension fork and 700c tires. not ideal but the price is a cool 1249. How do I know whether the rims could accommodate a 26" hybrid wheel? Calling them makes me feel like I'd be asking a dumb question lol.
 

Ann M.

Well-Known Member
No can do! Tires & rims have to match in this case. The vertical offset to the rim for non-disc brakes or the size of the suspension forks is matched to the wheel size. Just out of curiosity, do you have a problem with the tires that come with the Dillenger bike? Sometimes the terms "Rim" and "Wheel" are used interchangeably although it's not totally correct. Did you mean that you want to put a 26" hybrid Tire on a 700c Rim? It cannot fit; the 700c rim is larger. If you want to change out the tire, choose one that is the same 700c size that will work for the width of rim that comes on the bike. An extremely narrow road bike rim wouldn't be able to hold a much wider hybrid tire and the same for the opposite. Generally, there are numbers on the rim that will indicate the rim's width and sometimes the range of tire widths it can safely accommodate.

BTW, the only 'dumb question' is the one you don't ask. Thank you for asking; there are a lot of details for every bike or ebike, so this gives us the opportunity to share info with everyone.
 

Amanda

Member
I've read that narrow tires have poorer comfort and grip then fatter tires that's all. I'm going to be on sidewalk not asphalt so the Dillinger tires seemed thinner but the picture doesn't really offer multiple perspectives.
No can do! Tires & rims have to match in this case. The vertical offset to the rim for non-disc brakes or the size of the suspension forks is matched to the wheel size. Just out of curiosity, do you have a problem with the tires that come with the Dillenger bike? Sometimes the terms "Rim" and "Wheel" are used interchangeably although it's not totally correct. Did you mean that you want to put a 26" hybrid Tire on a 700c Rim? It cannot fit; the 700c rim is larger. If you want to change out the tire, choose one that is the same 700c size that will work for the width of rim that comes on the bike. An extremely narrow road bike rim wouldn't be able to hold a much wider hybrid tire and the same for the opposite. Generally, there are numbers on the rim that will indicate the rim's width and sometimes the range of tire widths it can safely accommodate.

BTW, the only 'dumb question' is the one you don't ask. Thank you for asking; there are a lot of details for every bike or ebike, so this gives us the opportunity to share info with everyone.
 
Yeah, those mid drives from Bosch get a lot of good feedback, but the bikes them selves are costly which is totally understandable.

I just stumbled on Dillinger ebikes and found a step thru with a suspension fork and 700c tires. not ideal but the price is a cool 1249. How do I know whether the rims could accommodate a 26" hybrid wheel? Calling them makes me feel like I'd be asking a dumb question lol.

Here are some things you might find useful:
(Link Removed - No Longer Exists)
https://www.sheldonbrown.com/tire-sizing.html
 

Amanda

Member
Igo Metro Ti vs. Izip E3 Vibe

Warranty, Replacement parts, performance, Canadian Winter Friendliness

I like the sub $2000 price point, step thru design, and colour selection. Not sure (and will double check) it either have integrated dash lights and can be operated with the key pocketed.

Both have removable batteries and seems to be a good pair of companies feed back wise from people on the boards.

Anything I should k ow from those who know here bikes or systems well?

A close third placer is the EG Athens.

I think cdn sidewalk usage needs no more than 350w and 30 km Max speed.
 

mrgold35

Well-Known Member
I really came close to going with the GeoOrbital e-wheel for my GT Transeo 3.0 commuter bike for my 6-7 miles work commute. https://www.geoo.com/

Pros:
- $800
- comes in 26 or 29/700c sizes, you can purchase any old $50 winter beater bike for your commute.
- quick release on/off bike + velcro strap for throttle. Take 20lb wheel off or just the 7lbs battery into office to stay warm, charge, out of bad weather, and/or security.
- 20 miles at 20 mph in the 700c size with no pedaling, +50 with pedaling
- turns your rwd bike into a 2wd ebike for extra winter traction
- only adds 12-15lbs to total weight to a bike (less if you remove the battery if you need to lift).
- same size as standard 26 or 29/700c wheel for bus rack transport
- solid tire, no flats
- regen braking
- comes in different colors
- can order a carry case for car, train, bus, or plane. Take e-wheel on trips, rent a bike, and 5X -10X your bike range on a trip.

Cons:
- $800
- my expected delivery was Feb/2017, cancelled order because I was ready for an ebike in Aug/16 (purchased the RadRover ebike).
- must have rim brakes, will not work with disk brakes. I had the added expense of converting my front disks into rim brakes.

(Link Removed - No Longer Exists)