Class 3 E-bikes Under $1800

VELOcit3

New Member
Region
USA
Hello -

I am on the cusp of purchasing my first electric bike. (I own four regular bikes, but my commute is a drag even for my Trek Madone). That being said there are so many options out there I'm having a difficult time choosing. My budget permits me up to $1,800. I need this bike for a tough commute each day (lots of hills along a 17mi commute to work). So I need something that's performance-driven (so no cruisers or lazy bikes) and therefore I would also need straight handles or drops. With that type of a commute, it almost goes without saying, I would need a class 3 as well. I have narrowed it down to four bikes; two from Aventon and two from Ride1Up. However I'm open to other options that fit the bill in comparison to those. I'm very near to purchasing, but I would like to find something that's possibly lighter than my current options, because I do have to go up four narrow flights of stairs each day (and I am fit, but 60lbs up and down is going to be a drag).

So fellow bikers, if I could have your opinions to help me make my first purchase I'd be overjoyed and appreciative! I have attached screenshots of my comparisons that I've been making thus far.

Any and all advice I welcome with open arms!


Thanks!

- Zee
 

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RunForTheHills

Active Member
Region
USA
Your budget makes it tough. Maybe install a DIY kit on one of your existing bikes (but not the Madone)? The motor and battery will probably add about 15lbs or so. If you want to lose the weight, you are going to have to pay for it, like with the Madone. Also the faster you want to go and the less pedaling you want to do, the more battery you will need. Look for the watt hour rating of the battery (voltage X AH). Your range will decrease a lot above 20 mph due to wind resistance and you will start spinning out on pedaling as you approach 28 mph (depending on your gearing). It will be all motor and no leg power after that. Can you charge the battery at work?
 

Art Deco

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Selinsgrove
I was thinking the same thing...electrify one of your existing bikes. I would not trust many sub $2000 bikes to have the level of components needed for sustained high speeds, but one that is popular on here is Ride1Up, that I would look at.
 

EMGX

Well-Known Member
Since you have 3 other bikes, besides the Madone, converting one of them might be the best way to go. Depending on the bike frames you have choices of good mid drives or hub options. I've never ridden a Bafang mid drive but for higher power/speeds that might be the way to go for a commute bike. They make a few versions, some are massively heavy like the BBSHD at almost 13 pounds for the motor alone, BBS02 almost 10 pounds. Tongsheng TSDZ2 supports up to 28mph, is lighter at <8 pounds, less expensive, quick and easy to install and provides good assist IMO although others have felt it underperformed for them.

Here is a good review of the Tongsheng specs

It is somewhat less expensive purchased direct from China like from http://recycles-ebike.com/ but ecocycles has US warehouse, ships quickly and replies promptly to questions. I've bought a couple from them.

A TSDZ2 bought from recycles-ebike and an inexpensive battery from Amazon (I have a few and they all work good - so far) could come in at around $600 for a complete conversion.
 
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VELOcit3

New Member
Region
USA
Thanks everyone for the support and recommendations! I would like to, but I am a little hesitant at installing this gear myself though. I know a regular bike and how to repair that, but the computer aspect (integrating with motor and what not) of this is going to be a headache to install and very troublesome at servicing etc. Plus I have a Madone (not going to screw with that) and a Trek 4300 (not going to mess with that either). So my options are now PureCycles fixed gear (or single speed) bikes. Which might be a challenge as frames are not built to hold this kind of additional hardware (most regular bikes from my understanding are not built to accommodate e-bike hardware). So I would feel safer if I could get steadfast recommendations on one of the Aventons or Ride1Ups mentioned, or another bike on same level with those brands/makes. Thanks!
 

RunForTheHills

Active Member
Region
USA
A kit doesn't have to be a headache as all the parts in a kit are already integrated together. You could also buy a used donor bike off of Craigslist to convert. A mid-drive kit is going to be harder to install than a hub motor because you have to remove the crank and bottom bracket. The hub motor kits usually come with a pre-built wheel with the motor in it. If you buy the kit from a place like Grin or Luna as opposed to eBay, you will get support on installing it. Older hardtail mountain bikes make good donor bikes for commuters.

I don't own an Aventon or Ride1Up. There are sections on this forum for owners of those bikes though and some of the problems that they have had. Ride1Up in particular seems to have some quality control and customer service issues. Look through those threads and see if you are comfortable with it. Part of the problem is the price point of those ebikes. There isn't much margin in it for the manufacturer/importer and so they offer limited support.

https://electricbikereview.com/forums/forum/aventon/
https://electricbikereview.com/forums/forum/ride1up/
 

VELOcit3

New Member
Region
USA
Thanks for RunForTheHills I am going to do a bit more research on the DIY route still. Just worried about it, but if it is intuitive enough I will try it out!
 

RunForTheHills

Active Member
Region
USA
I just reread my previous post. One error that I made is that if you want a torque or cadence sensor with a hub drive motor, you will still have to mess with the bottom bracket.
 

VELOcit3

New Member
Region
USA
Mid-drive is so much better, but I will probably have to settle with a hub as my expertise in this area is null. Torque would be preferable, but cadence might be cheaper? Would be nice to have a cassette v a free wheel though since I will be cranking up and down hills. So I gotta find an alternative to the single speeds for that.
 

RunForTheHills

Active Member
Region
USA
A mid-drive is better for an offroad MTB, but not necessarily for a commuter. A mid-drive is also better for hauling a lot of weight up long hills, like with a cargo bike. A mid-drive will wear out the chain and cassette quicker than a hub motor and a hub motor will get you home if your chain breaks as long as you have a throttle. It is a little harder to repair a flat on a hub motor. A torque sensor is preferable to a cadence sensor and only slightly more expensive on the Grin hub motor kits. The Bafang BBS kits are cadence only as are most of the cheap kits on eBay. I prefer a cassette too and many hub motor kits do use them. My GMAC motor does and so do the standard MAC motors. However, you will find that you don't actually need as many gears as you do on your non-electric bikes as you will have a motor helping you get up the hills.
 

RunForTheHills

Active Member
Region
USA
Many people convert single speed cruisers to eBikes. As I said, you don't really need many gears. Your fixie wouldn't be a fixie after you convert it though and I wouldn't put a mid-drive on a fixie without first converting it back to a single speed that can coast. However, for commuting with hills, I would want a few gears unless you aren't planning to contribute by pedaling. Depending on the frame you used for the fixie, you may be able to add a derailleur to it. Another option is to install a mid-drive and put an internal geared hub on the back to give you some gears. I don't know where you live, but if you are near a city, you should be able to find some good deals on used hardtail mountain bikes on Craigslist. You don't want anything special like through axles or a fat bike. Just an old mountain bike with enough room in the diamond for a battery to mount on the bottle holder bosses. You want 135mm spacing for the rear dropouts.

MTA: By a few gears, I mean 6-8 are fine. Maybe even a 3-speed IGH. You may need to drop to a slightly lower gear on the hills, but you will still be going 10-15 mph on the steep hills instead of 3-8 mph on your non-electric bike. Depending on the motor. And you will want a higher gear for doing 25 mph on the flats.
 
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RunForTheHills

Active Member
Region
USA
I took a look at the specs for the Purecycle. Does the "flip flop hub" mean it can coast or be fixed? If so, you could probably put a mid-drive on the bike. The lack of a rear brake would put me off of using that bike as an ebike.
 

RunForTheHills

Active Member
Region
USA
Look for something like this in your size and in your area. It is cheap and has a front suspension to help absorb the bumps when you are riding at faster speeds. The hardtail makes it easier to mount a rack in the back, but if you aren't going to use panniers you can also look at full suspension bikes. Disc brakes are nice to have, but rim brakes work just fine. You could always replace the fork and put a front disk on it. This bike weighed 27.6 lbs new, so by the time you are done converting it, it should weight around 45 lbs or so.

https://sfbay.craigslist.org/eby/bik/d/richmond-21-trek-speed-aluminum/7311171028.html
 

VELOcit3

New Member
Region
USA
Thanks for the continued advice. It can be flipped. I have a front brake and can easily install a back brake, but you are right, I would want gears to make this a more reliable ride. I like that, 45lbs is much more tolerable than 60. I could make this all into a class 3 you would estimate? I suppose since I would hypothetically be modifying my own bike, I am not limited to 28mph anymore... :p
 

SondorsMXS

Member
I'd consider a MXS. I'm partial obviously, I paid $1799 plus shipping. I'm 230 lbs and disabled. I needed a powerful bike for living on the coast (with hills)
 

Ebiker01

Well-Known Member
Get either the Aventon Level or the Sondors Mxs and it's a done deal.

Also learn how to safely use the throttle to propel the ebike up the stairs. .Obviously you won't be seated on the ebike will doing that. Power walk up on the stairs on the left side of the ebike, gently apply pressure if needed on the left lever brake, pedals at 3 o'clock, skillfully apply the throttle depending on how big of a load there in in the rear. Going down the stairs u prob. don't need instructions. GL !
 

VELOcit3

New Member
Region
USA
Thanks, that MXS looks great, but it is even heavier than the Aventon. Haha. Cheers to one day having lighter bikes, right?! :p

Good point Ebiker01, thanks! I really like the Level, just the weight of carrying up/down stairs. I am fit dude, but everyday that will be a strain, on the shoulders and neck with that weight/tight turns on steps.