Commuter Upgrade

ArmyHokie

Member
I've been bike commuting intermittently for 6 years, but have recently thought that an e-bike might allow me to go all-in. My most recent commuter is a Novara Gotham, but I've found it to be inefficient getting back and forth to my new job, particularly on steep hills and a few spots where it is safer to follow a dirt trail rather than taking the lane on a road with no shoulder. The sidewalks and muti-use trails here collect sand and road debris, so I'm interested in a bike with wider tires than the Gotham (700x35C). The round trip is ~14 miles on mostly roads and bike paths (profile attached below). About a 1/2 mile each way will be on dirt trail. I do plan to ride in rain and light snow. I commute in cycling gear and keep my work clothes at work, so fenders aren't required. My budget is $2,000. Some of the bikes I've looked at:

1) 2016 Izip E3 Dash on close-out at my LBS.
2) new RadCity - affordable, but lower top speed; any thoughts on the extra value in a speed-pedelec vs. 20mph bike?
3) CrossCurrent - cheap and fast; I would upgrade tires and lighting for commuting

Any thoughts? Other bikes to look at?

My other idea is to buy a more efficient pedal bike and just take the lane rather than going off road, but I'm not sure I have the conditioning yet to commute 5 days/week and do my mid-day high-intensity interval workout.
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Are class-3 bikes allowed on the dirt trails in your area?

I'm in a similar situation--been commuting via bicycle 2-3 days/week for 6 years, but want to bump it up to 5 days/week. My route is 12 miles, and 15-20% of that is dirt and gravel. In my experience, even a very efficient conventional bike won't make as much of a difference as an e-bike will.

My current commuter is a half-fat 29er (rigid) MTB, so I went with IZIP's E3 Peak (2017 model). Haven't taken delivery yet, but I plan on making some tweaks and additions to make it more capable as a commuter.
 
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ArmyHokie

Member
Yes, the trail I would use is informal and has no restrictions; it just follows telephone lines on the right of way adjacent to the road. My LBS has a 2016 Peak on close-out at my budget, so I will check it out. Thanks.
 

mrgold35

Well-Known Member
I went with a 2016 Radrover, 750 watt rear hub, class 2 (throttle+PAS 1-5), 7-speed, 20mph speed limited, 62lbs, 4" fat tire MTB. I commute to work 13 miles round-trip from 5400ft to my job at 4900 feet. It is all main and side streets for the commute; but, I like to ride the dirt trails and bike paths on the weekends.

The fat tires do a good job of soaking up the bumps, asphalt cracks, and normal road imperfections. The fat tires can provide a little extra traction if there is snow or sand on the trail rides. I added a Sunlite Cloud-9 seat, rear rack with Topeak saddle bags, and Suntour SP-12 NCX suspension seatpost. At the price of $1500, it gave me a lot room to add extras.

Recently went on an endurance run of 36 miles at 12-14 mph on PAS 3. My legs gave out before power did (still had one bar at around 20% power after the 3 hr ride). Very comfortable bike for commuting (6'3" 270lbs). I don't get "numb hands" on long rides like I do with my regular GT Transeo 3.0 commuter bike.
 

crystalball

New Member
I bought a new 2015 Izip E3 Dash about a three months ago, have about 1000 miles on it now and I can say it is unbelievable. A 15 mile round trip averaging an effortless 25MPH with some hills and head wind is easily done. I can’t speak for the mid drive 2016 Dash but the 2015 is absolutely silent, a smooth ride and so far trouble free. If you can still find a dealer with a new 2015 in stock you can probably pick it up for $1,600, add some fenders and a rack and you are good to go.
 

Ann M.

Well-Known Member
I always love a bargain, @crystalball! Constantly recommending previous year clearances to eriders as a great way to get an excellent bike for less. That Dash was about $2700+ when it first came out.
 

Dunbar

Well-Known Member
How steep are your hills? I have a Cross Current and it doesn't do well on steep hills. I have the optional throttle kit and if I peg the throttle and pedal hard I can make it up short steep kickers but it's not the bikes forte. The mid-drive Izip models will do much better on hills. If you do get the Cross Current I highly recommend getting the bigger 10.4aH battery. Another inexpensive mid-drive option is the FLX Trail.
 

ArmyHokie

Member
Not sure of the exact grades. Steep enough that I have to get out of the saddle of my Gotham even after stripping it down. Worst bit is a 2 mile stretch that climbs 200 ft., steep at first and then a steady climb on the way home. Nothing compared to what the mountain commuters deal with. I'm 5-10, 150 FWIW.
 

Dunbar

Well-Known Member
200ft over 2 miles is a very mild grade but obviously there could be short steep bits. The Cross Current does fine up to about a 5% grade. It's definitely the best value for a 28mph bike and comes very well equipped for the price (I love the Tektro Dorado hydraulic discs.) I would pay the extra $300 for the bigger battery. If you have any problems with hills the throttle kit can be added later. I find that it helps because it overrides the pedal assist and gives you maximum power on demand (up to 20mph.) For a commuter you might consider buying something with local support though. I had a controller go out on my Cross Current and my local Juiced Bikes dealer fixed it in one day.
 

ArmyHokie

Member
Good point on local support. The nearest Juiced dealer is 3 hours away. My LBS dumped IZip for 2017; they're only selling Trek and Specialized e-bikes now. Will have to expand my search.
 

Dunbar

Well-Known Member
Both of those brands are going to be over your budget. Specialized is discounting the remaining 2016 base Turbo for ~$2500. You might find one for a bit less than that if your dealer has one sitting on their showroom floor.
 

pxpaulx

Well-Known Member
At yo batteryur size, you probably won't go wrong with really just about any bike. A larger person would benefit more on the hills from a mid drive, but you'd be just fine with a hub as well. The cross current would probably be an excellent choice, even the smallest battery wouldn't have trouble getting you to work and back. Having the larger battery died provide some piece of mind though. When considering battery size, a good rule of thumb for real world distance is 15 to 20 wh per mile, at your size 15 would be a fine number to work with. So for example, with a 400wh battery expect about 20 to 27 miles given overall conditions.
 
The 15-20 wh battery consumption is true but also depends on motor efficiency. For commuting i will advice bikes with attached racks especially front racks.

1- Faraday Porteur : Expensive and shorter range. But very nice design
2- Ariel Rider C-Class : Have very good loading capacity . I think they have a discount right now. You can check about it.
3- Yuba bikes : They also have nice design but higher price point too.

Personally i try to stay away from Pedego . They have nice bikes but i never think they worth that price for such bike.
 

Jose Manuel

New Member
So if the CC lacks ability to climb, wouldn't a direct drive lack even more? Being that the CC is geared. Am i understanding it correct?
 

Dunbar

Well-Known Member
A hub motor geared for high speed like the Cross Current is going to climb worse than a direct drive hub motor. The gearing has to be optimized for a certain speed so on a high speed bike that means low speed torque will suffer.
 

Trail Cruiser

Well-Known Member
How do you know its geared for high speed? I couldnt find any info in regards to that anywhere.

The 28 mph capable ebikes are categorized as class C, also considered as high speed legal ebikes. The other categories, class A and B, have 20 mph speed limit.