Considering getting an ebike. How do I set my expectations?

Art Deco

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Selinsgrove Pennsylvania
Its hard to give an 'exact' answer since it depends on how the PAS is implemented. PAS can typically be power or speed based.

Im pretty sure bikes like the magnums are speed based from my experience riding them (hated it).

The Juiced CCX hub bike feels power based in that the assist level doesnt seem to try to maintain any speed, it just gives a set amount of assist (which would actually equate to a constant speed on a flat road with no wind). The torque sensor just seems to add more power based on rider input(the amount is based off the assist level). The feedback to the rider is nowhere as nice as my Brose mid drives. If you ghost pedal the CCX, it will assist.

The DIY torque sensor GMAC hub bike feels similar (just more responsive and powerful). I have mine setup so it doesnt start assisting until I input 10 watts so no ghost pedaling on this bike. Its also set up to only amplify my power inputs.

The BBSHD bike is a set amount of amps for each assist level and no torque sensor. You can also set a speed for each assist level although I have the speed set to something like 99mph. If you set the assist level too high for what your riding, your ghost pedaling so you have to fiddle with assist levels more.

Of course, the Brose bikes rule for 'feel' which is why I have 2. They just get better the slower you go and with lower gears.

Alot of this becomes mute at higher speeds (20mph+) when the mid-drive is actually experiencing 'torque reduction' due to gearing. At these speeds, the euro based mid-drives are also near their power limit so they will require more human input (which is great if thats what you want)

Im all for the nice euro based mid-drives from the big manufacturers if that what someone wants. They are beautiful well integrated bikes. They are also $$$ and replacement costs can be pretty high (just like apple products which many people adore)
Yeah, it's hard to explain. I also ride a class 1 Brose middrive and usually only break 20mph on downhills, although I can pedal past it with some effort. I'm ok with the speed, but I want more torque for hills.
It seems like the Juiced is set up a bit differently. Can you increase speed much on flats without changing PAS levels just by pedaling harder or faster?
 

linklemming

Well-Known Member
Sounds like you have experience with both torque and speed sensors on hub motors.
It's a little too early in my research to know if a mid-drive would be in my budget range. It also depends on what's available from my local bike shops too.

Do you find that you change your expectations and riding style based on whether it's a torque or speed sensor? In terms of settings and what not.
Or do you just leave them all at a certain PAS level and just start pedaling?

Because, from the two ebikes I've test road, it almost feels like it is smarter to use the throttle only in some circumstances. Like a start of a hill, or a quick U turn. Otherwise the pedal assist just kicks in at the weirdest times.
I typically set the brose mid drive bikes to a set assist level and just leave it and ride it like a normal bike, shifting gears as needing. I do typically up the assist level towards the end of the ride as I get tired

Same thing for the torque sensor hub drives.

With the BBSHD I have to fiddle with the gearing and the assist level. It is a little annoying but Im getting better at it. The pedal assist seems to kick in gradually enough unless I have the assist level really high.

Some of the cheaper hub ebikes have jerky PAS (magnum metro for example) and need to have throttle in some situations as you describe.
 

bbdata

New Member
Region
Canada
With the BBSHD I have to fiddle with the gearing and the assist level. It is a little annoying but Im getting better at it. The pedal assist seems to kick in gradually enough unless I have the assist level really high.
Thank you for your thoughts.
Pardon my ignorance, but what is BBSHD? From a quick Google, it looks to be a particular model of a Bafang motor?
 

linklemming

Well-Known Member
Thank you for your thoughts.
Pardon my ignorance, but what is BBSHD? From a quick Google, it looks to be a particular model of a Bafang motor?
Yes, its a PAS only Bafang Mid Drive Motor available as a mid-drive kit although some low cost ebikes have them.
 

Johnny

Well-Known Member
Thank you for pointing that distinction out.
That is true that the two ebikes I've tried are hub motors.
I guess I'll need to find a shop that carries mid drives to test ride.

What about hub motors that have a torque sensor? Would that lend itself to feel more natural like a mid drive?

Feeling natural has nothing to do with motor being mid or hub. It is about having a torque sensor and controller being programmed properly.

Finding a good hub offering with a good torque sensor is harder, mainstream mid drives are all over the place.

I have bikes with bosch Cx, yamaha pw-se and a high quality dd hub with a good torque sensor. On the pavement my hub is head and shoulders above the rest in terms of ride feel.
 
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MartsEbike

Well-Known Member
Region
Other
Do you find that you change your expectations and riding style based on whether it's a torque or speed sensor? In terms of settings and what not.
Yes you do. For a mid-drive torque based bike, I use the gears more... Hub drives - just stick it one of the higher gears, and let the motor take you up faster.
Or do you just leave them all at a certain PAS level and just start pedaling?

Because, from the two ebikes I've test road, it almost feels like it is smarter to use the throttle only in some circumstances. Like a start of a hill, or a quick U turn. Otherwise the pedal assist just kicks in at the weirdest times.
You get use to the power and will learn when it kicks in, which will make your hill starts and U-turns easier....
 

indianajo

Well-Known Member
I have gotten almost 10,000 miles on my bosch powered bike in a year and a half no problems at all.
What is your waist size? What is your rest pulse? Usual for your age? Not too many 71 year old males are wearing the weight of a 28 year old. Road bikers without electricity usually do. Distance runners & lap swimmers too. I can't do any of those three sports.
As for gear use with my hub drive, I shift 2 or 3 speeds every stop sign and from 3 to 8 & back down if I'm in a hurry on the bigger hills.
 

PatriciaK

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Pacific Northwest and Piedmont Triad
I have both a multi-sensing mid drive and a hub drive, and like them both!

No matter which type of bike you choose, you're going to need to make adjustments to your riding style.

It's difficult right now because of supply issues, but the best advice is to ride as many bikes as you can (Steve's offer is a great opportunity), under the conditions you'll normally be riding, to figure out which best fits for you. All mid drives are not the same; neither are all hub drives.
My mid drive came from my LBS (Giant), my hub drive came from a direct dealer (Espin). I rolled the dice with my hub drive, after reading the reviews and owner experiences here, and it was stressful because I didn't have a chance to ride before buying. But it's turned out to be a very nice bike for the money, is fun to ride, and fits my needs well.

I have to say though, that without either an LBS or someone knowledgeable available and willing to service the bike, I would not have gone the direct sales route. I'm not a bike mechanic - not mechanically inclined at all (I can change a tire, under normal circumstances)😱. I've had zero problems with either bike (so far), but knowing there's someone who can address any issues that may arise was a major factor in taking a chance with the internet-direct option.

Good luck with your search!
 

Saratoga Dave

Well-Known Member
I’d take Steve up on his offer. He’s been around here a long time.

Coming from 20 years of cycling, I would have to feel that you are a mid drive candidate. I can ride at 3 miles an hour or 20 in the same lowest level of assist if it’s flat enough... across the range the feel is far more natural. I do remember on my first ebike, a hub drive, that thing about PAS 1 was 5 mph, if you went to 2 it went directly to 10 mph, 15 at 3… it felt kind of cool, but it was hardly an authentic bike riding experience. My next three bikes have all been mid drives.

And I’m told that if you take the whole chain off and start pedaling, the thing will still go 5, 10, 15, etc… maybe not for some of the more sophisticated new ones, but I’m not sure about that. That would be a little strange.
 

Dallant

Well-Known Member
Hello. I wanted to get some input from more experienced ebike owners.

I've been considering purchasing my first ebike.
Have cycled for over 20 years mostly for recreation and commuting.
Hoping to get something more meant for city/urban use.

I've test road an Envo and a Rad so far.

I have found the pedal assist to be rather odd.
How it kicks in mid rotation and would sort of throw me off my groove.
There's also the scenario where the ebike was in a higher gear and I had a harder time moving and the pedal assist wouldn't kick in at all.

I explained these feelings to the sales reps but they didn't really provide a meaningful answer.
My guess is that it has to do with the sensor on the bike and that it is speed related?

What should my expectations for ebikes be?
Do I need to adopt a different mind set? And what is that mind set?
Or perhaps it's a change in habits? Like, using the throttle to start and only pedal when I'm at a comfortable speed?

I just don't know how to set my expectations.

Your advice appreciated.
Thank you

Edit: I've gotten some great suggestions. But in terms of budget, I'd like keep it under $3,000 CAD as I just don't know what to expect right now.
FWIW…think long term. Assume you’ll love it and that this is the first of at least two ebikes. Get what you want and like to ride, even if it’s a bit pricier. Test several brands if you can. One of your factors might be based on how much support you can get locally.
Personally, I chose to go with a Trek Allant+7 (actually two of them now) because there are lots of Trek dealers in my area, its a great balance of power and ride quality, and very reliable. We got a Lowstep version for my wife because she loved it immediately during the test ride and we can share batteries, bags, tires, etc., and in the time we’ve had ours they’ve been trouble free, save for an adjustment to the battery latch that wouldn’t release on mine.
Additionally, I just picked up a Trek Rail 5 EMTB last weekend which will also use the same Bosch PowerTube battery.
 
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fooferdoggie

Well-Known Member
What is your waist size? What is your rest pulse? Usual for your age? Not too many 71 year old males are wearing the weight of a 28 year old. Road bikers without electricity usually do. Distance runners & lap swimmers too. I can't do any of those three sports.
As for gear use with my hub drive, I shift 2 or 3 speeds every stop sign and from 3 to 8 & back down if I'm in a hurry on the bigger hills.
36 I weight 200 pounds resting heart rate around 55 when asleep about 43. I shut all the time from all the way to the largest cog the nI stop to close to the top when I am going 22mph or so.
 

steve mercier

Well-Known Member
Yes you do. For a mid-drive torque based bike, I use the gears more... Hub drives - just stick it one of the higher gears, and let the motor take you up faster.

You get use to the power and will learn when it kicks in, which will make your hill starts and U-turns easier....
That is somewhat true about learning but part of that is learning is that you will have to get off and walk the bike through some tricky situations that could be ridden on a more precise system.
 

MartsEbike

Well-Known Member
Region
Other
That is somewhat true about learning but part of that is learning is that you will have to get off and walk the bike through some tricky situations that could be ridden on a more precise system.
In tricky situations you can use precision - or you can use power. :D I rode a 1000w hub for years and it has enough power to pull you through or over pretty much anything.

I don't doubt that there will be times you get caught out.... I ride a quite powerful mid-drive now and that happens from time to time....

In my opinion, low power hub drives are useless, but anything 1000/1500w+ and they can be quite fun to ride :).
 

Lar

Well-Known Member
It sounds to me like you are not in the right PAS level for the gears you are in if that makes sense. For slower speed gears lower PAS level and vice versa. I've had both torque and Cadence sensors and liked both in different ways.
 

ElevenAD

Well-Known Member
imo,a hub drive bike with a torque sensor feels far more natural than a midrive with torque sensor, with a middrive you feel the stress your motor puts on the chain,its just much tighter,also pedaling and gear changing are not as smooth,just my 2cent, most important thing hub or middrive is to make sure it has a torque sensor then you wont have to worry about that jerky on/off type PAS!
 

Rás Cnoic

Well-Known Member
I suggest before you decide, step away from bikes and motors etc for a minute and look at yourself, your fitness, the terrain you ride; hills/flat, on road/offroad, your usual distances/frequency of rides and even prevailing weather conditions where you live/ride - wet/windy/hot/cold and if you plan on riding through winter for eg, if that's possible where you live. Make a list. This way you can kind of narrow down the search to a few bikes. Then of course the £££$$$ budget question - seems it's always that bike you must have, that is perfect for you, is always just above your price range! and the recent shortages will narrow the list even more. For me, having ridden ordinary bikes for 20+ years everything from BMX & MTB to road and then commuting, I wanted a light weight e bike that would feel as close to what I was used to but give me some help on hills. Everyone is different & has different roads and needs. Good luck!
 

theemartymac

Well-Known Member
Edit: I've gotten some great suggestions. But in terms of budget, I'd like keep it under $3,000 CAD as I just don't know what to expect right now.
There is an importer right there in Van (Rize) that has a 750w hub drive with torque sensor. I have two of their bikes, and in the sub-$3000 bracket they are quite good value. For the non-Canadians, $3000 CAD doesn't go very far up here in the ebike market, and almost eliminates the big brands unless you are only looking for the barest of boned models.

One of my bikes is a 750w hub with Cadence (speed) sensor that behaves like the Rad - power delivery is on or off and noticeable. The other is a big 1000w mid drive that has a torque sensor, and with some minor tweaking it performs very very smoothly and progressively - no jerkiness and barely perceptible (aside from the obvious fact it's easy to pedal), with instant smooth power from the start.

I do love the hub for city riding though as it is just easier to ride in stop and go traffic, and I think the new hub models with torque sensor would be worth a serious look (and any similarly equipped bike). Fair warning though, these ones are quite large-framed and heavy compared to the Trek's and Specialized, etc, but light weight tends to cost much more.

I live over in Victoria, and a good 750w hub drive would do just fine in most of Metro Van, but the mid drive is much more versatile in the big hills of North Van, or even if you want to be tooling around up at SFU a lot of the time. Some of the smaller 500w hubs or similar (Like the Rad) might be a bit disappointing for you on the hillier parts of town as they are poor climbers. A Bosch Performance Line motor or a Shimano Steps 8000 (the most powerful mid drives in each line) are definitely up to the task all over Van, but I don't think you'll find much below $3000. They seem to come in much closer to $4000 and up, and the sky is the limit if you want a really light bike too.

 

Lar

Well-Known Member
There is an importer right there in Van (Rize) that has a 750w hub drive with torque sensor. I have two of their bikes, and in the sub-$3000 bracket they are quite good value. For the non-Canadians, $3000 CAD doesn't go very far up here in the ebike market, and almost eliminates the big brands unless you are only looking for the barest of boned models.

One of my bikes is a 750w hub with Cadence (speed) sensor that behaves like the Rad - power delivery is on or off and noticeable. The other is a big 1000w mid drive that has a torque sensor, and with some minor tweaking it performs very very smoothly and progressively - no jerkiness and barely perceptible (aside from the obvious fact it's easy to pedal), with instant smooth power from the start.

I do love the hub for city riding though as it is just easier to ride in stop and go traffic, and I think the new hub models with torque sensor would be worth a serious look (and any similarly equipped bike). Fair warning though, these ones are quite large-framed and heavy compared to the Trek's and Specialized, etc, but light weight tends to cost much more.

I live over in Victoria, and a good 750w hub drive would do just fine in most of Metro Van, but the mid drive is much more versatile in the big hills of North Van, or even if you want to be tooling around up at SFU a lot of the time. Some of the smaller 500w hubs or similar (Like the Rad) might be a bit disappointing for you on the hillier parts of town as they are poor climbers. A Bosch Performance Line motor or a Shimano Steps 8000 (the most powerful mid drives in each line) are definitely up to the task all over Van, but I don't think you'll find much below $3000. They seem to come in much closer to $4000 and up, and the sky is the limit if you want a really light bike too.

Good points about climbing, weight and price difference. I out grew my hub bike in less than six months due mostly to lack of climbing power. I paid over 2k above what I wanted to spend and got a Trek emtb, glad I did...
 
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ExPatBrit

Active Member
I had a Rad Rover for about a year, great bike did the Bolton Upgrade(s) to 1500W. Sold it when used bike re-sale prices were high at the end of 2020.

That bike was really fast, great for keeping up with traffic.

I have a Biktrix (Saskatoon Canada) Juggernaut Mid-Drive Ultra which has cadence and torque sensing (and throttle)

Initially I was a bit disappointed with the new purchase, it takes a while to get used to torque sensing and the technique of how power is applied.

With the hub drive you approach steep inclines as fast as you can to maintain momentum and not let the motor stall.

Mid Drive Ultra allows me to use the lower gears to climb slowly over extremely steep or rocky terrain. On the trail this is much safer as you never know what is around/over the next corner or ridge.

Mid-Drive definitely needs more rider attention, I change gears much more often than I did on the Rad.
 
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J.R.

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
Yeah, it's hard to explain. I also ride a class 1 Brose middrive and usually only break 20mph on downhills, although I can pedal past it with some effort. I'm ok with the speed, but I want more torque for hills.
It seems like the Juiced is set up a bit differently. Can you increase speed much on flats without changing PAS levels just by pedaling harder or faster?
Remember the first thing I said after riding your bike? I said it felt like a lot of power. You told me it was the lower power version.

I've ridden a lot of ebikes in the last 7 years. Generally speaking cadence sensing bikes perform the way you suggest. Those can be somewhat refined with good programming. It also doesn't apply power off the line and that's where people feel the need for instant power of a throttle. A good hub drive bike with torque sensor feels as good and natural as any mid drive bike I've ridden. A Stromer with TMM4 torque sensor is smooth as glass. It is more powerful than the average ebike, mid or hub. Yamaha mid drives feel more natural than Bosch or Brose to me. My BH with 350 watt Dapu with TMM4 torque sensor feels very natural. See some of the Orbea ebikes very similar system. The only major, quality system I've never ridden is Shimano.

My BH assist levels are 0%, 30%, 50%, 70% and 100% of available power. Assist is applied in every setting from ~4 mph through and just past max class 1 speed. The amount of assist is up to the rider. Speed is not predefined.