Considering one of two mid drive bikes by Sondors. Have a few questions.

Klumze

New Member
About me and my current bike. I am a 300lb ebike rider that has lost 65 pounds since August 2020 riding my old cruiser style ebike but I need something that can take me farther now. My current bike is a 24v 250w 10.4ah Beach Cruiser style ebike that weights about 60 lbs. I purchased a brand new battery in January as my old pack didnt take me more than 9 miles. My new pack takes me almost 15 miles before my battery dies. My bike has no LCD display and no pedal assist levels. Its either on or off. The bike is about 6 years old.

I am weighing my options between the Sondors LX and the Sondors Cruiser Mid Drive bikes as my next ebike. I live in SoCal and only ride pavement trails right now because my current bike cannot handle anything else. I would like to make the 25 mile trip (50 round) on the Santa Ana River Trail to the beach some day. It is 100% pavement. I see dirt trails that are off the path and might want to explore those someday but for no a pavement path is my current concern.

Since losing the 65 pounds I have found the handlebars on my current bike to be closer than I want. I would like a straight handlebar over a curved one now. I often have to stand up and pedal to ride up hills with my current bike and I feel like I am warping my handlebars. I already had to tighten my neck once since it became loose. I think its because of my weight and the laid back handlebars are not made for that purpose.. I would like a straight bar for my next bike but I do not know if its just me and if the bars on the cruiser would do ok for hills.

So here are my questions (thank you all for reading!)

1. Do you think the advertised range is done using the lowest pedal assist level (least help) or the highest when determining range?
2. Would I get considerable more range using the cruiser on pavement over the fat tire option?
3. Does the front fork really matter if I'm using it on pavement? I use a suspension seat post on current bike already
4. If I ever wanted to use this for trails when my fitness improves would the cruiser be a deal breaker? If I changed the forks and tires to knobby?
5. Would changing tires the forks and handlebars on the cruiser make more sense if I wanted to go off road later or would do they make 4.9" fat tire cruiser tires anywhere that would make more sense?

I think the LX with a straight handle bar, suspension forks and would be perfect if I could determine if the tires on it could be changed to cruiser road tires instead for the time being.
 

tomjasz

Well-Known Member
So far parts support for the frame-mounted Bafang motors is somewhat problematic. Improving, but still difficult. Not unlike the first years of the BBSxx series..
 

rich c

Well-Known Member
1) All range numbers are best case scenario. Consider at least 1/3 less for normal riding, and 1/2 less for the cold weather rides.
2) Narrower and higher pressure tires give the best performance
3) All depends on the quality of pavement. Bicycles went for almost a century as rigid only. MTB suspensions are a fairly recent invention for widespread use.
4) What is your idea of a "trail"? Fire road, gravel, or single track? I ride on Schwalbe Super Moto X on climbing single track. We aren't allowed on the trails when they are muddy, so smooth tires work fine. I lower the pressure when riding on the rocks and roots though.
5) I owned a Sondors fat bike. I'll never own a fat tire again. I hate the gyro scope action of those giant tires. They sound like an Army truck is coming on pavement, and an oversize 2.4" tire does all the trail activity I can do.
 

Klumze

New Member
So far parts support for the frame-mounted Bafang motors is somewhat problematic. Improving, but still difficult. Not unlike the first years of the BBSxx series..
Are you saying these motors are not recommended right now then? Im pretty new to this and really liked the pricing and features of these bikes. They look really cool also and have some huge batteries.
 

Klumze

New Member
1) All range numbers are best case scenario. Consider at least 1/3 less for normal riding, and 1/2 less for the cold weather rides.
2) Narrower and higher pressure tires give the best performance
3) All depends on the quality of pavement. Bicycles went for almost a century as rigid only. MTB suspensions are a fairly recent invention for widespread use.
4) What is your idea of a "trail"? Fire road, gravel, or single track? I ride on Schwalbe Super Moto X on climbing single track. We aren't allowed on the trails when they are muddy, so smooth tires work fine. I lower the pressure when riding on the rocks and roots though.
5) I owned a Sondors fat bike. I'll never own a fat tire again. I hate the gyro scope action of those giant tires. They sound like an Army truck is coming on pavement, and an oversize 2.4" tire does all the trail activity I can do.
I think your answers really helped me narrow my choices. When I say trail what I really mean is sometimes I see a dirt path off to the side that people walk and ride on that is pretty dry but has a incline. So no roots, trees, etc. just a dirt road that goes up or down hill. Sounds like the smooth tires should be ok if I check myself and learn how the bike handles first.
 

harryS

Well-Known Member
How patient are you? Neither of your Sondors choices will be delivered until after Labor Day but the frame may be the better choice for a heavier rider. Also, it's a good price fro a mid drive. ( Congrats on the weight loss! ) You might start looking for those smooth tires soon if you pre-order an LX. EVrything will be in short supply this year,

I put smooth tires on my 20" and 26" fat tire bikes, but I can still ride on gravel, grass, and a dry dirt road. Can't ride on snow, and that's good. Keeps me inside.
 

tomjasz

Well-Known Member
Are you saying these motors are not recommended right now then? Im pretty new to this and really liked the pricing and features of these bikes. They look really cool also and have some huge batteries.
I’m not a Sondors fan and can’t provide an unbiased view. My apologies for commenting.
 

Klumze

New Member
How patient are you? Neither of your Sondors choices will be delivered until after Labor Day but the frame may be the better choice for a heavier rider. Also, it's a good price fro a mid drive. ( Congrats on the weight loss! ) You might start looking for those smooth tires soon if you pre-order an LX. EVrything will be in short supply this year,

I put smooth tires on my 20" and 26" fat tire bikes, but I can still ride on gravel, grass, and a dry dirt road. Can't ride on snow, and that's good. Keeps me inside.
I am fine waiting for a good deal and I love the way this looks. The off road thing is also just a "one of these days I might" type of dream and it may never happen. I think it might be easier to get knobby tires on the 3" cruiser than 5" smooth tires on the LX. If the suspension fork needs to be changed ill cross that road when it comes. Think I'll be going with the cruiser and seeing where it takes me!
 

PedalUma

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
Sondors is considering opening a service center in So Cal. That would be very helpful. You will love the Cruiser. And you will get it faster.
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harryS

Well-Known Member
I'm not a Sondors owner either, and these bikes look and are too massive/big for me, but look good for a big rider.
 

rich c

Well-Known Member
Sondors is considering opening a service center in So Cal. That would be very helpful. You will love the Cruiser. And you will get it faster.
View attachment 84348
They've had a service center in Southern Ca. since they started selling. It's called Bruce Choate's apartment. LOL They were also considering making a 3 wheel car.
 

PedalUma

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
They are massive. I did a 35 mile hill ride with one on Thursday. It has the Ultra Motor and 21Ah 48V battery. Yet by drafting it was able to keep up with my lighter bike. Mine weights less than 1/2. They are not as bad as I thought. It also kept up with the Vado by drafting on the flatter sections to reserve its power drain.
 

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tomjasz

Well-Known Member
I'm not a Sondors owner either, and these bikes look and are too massive/big for me, but look good for a big rider.
A mechanic I know reported the Sondors ultra motor is unlike other ultra motors used by other OEM ebike makers. If correct that could well be a nightmare. Anyone here that can deny or confirm?
 

harryS

Well-Known Member
That would be like Sondors to change the firmware so you have to use their display (which he done before), and also lock you out from using programming cables to change the operating values. Seems like they're just protecting the warranty to me, which is fair. Now if the mounting carriage is changed, so you cannot swap motors, then it's just another proprietary bike. Maybe that's what he aspires to sell.

Meanwhile, it looks even bigger now.
 

tomjasz

Well-Known Member
5) I owned a Sondors fat bike. I'll never own a fat tire again. I hate the gyro scope action of those giant tires. They sound like an Army truck is coming on pavement, and an oversize 2.4" tire does all the trail activity I can do.
My experience as well. My albatross will be a donation when put back together.
 

m@Robertson

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
@Klumze I'll take your points in order:

1. I would always consider every ebike mfr's range as best case scenario with a heavy dose of optimism added in. Sondors is no exception. On the plus side, that bike has a 21ah battery. BIG battery. And a 25a controller. Powerful. But you can dial that back to sip power so... still big battery.

2. No. Both bikes have the same size battery although the cruiser is a bit lighter. So a theoretical yes, really. But functionally they both have the same motor, controller and battery. the only notable difference is the tires and you can easily change those.

3. Thats not a yes thats a Hell Yes. Even factoring in poofy fat tires. On a street ride and adding in a heavy rider, there is no substitute for the comfort of suspension. I too use suspension seatposts on hardtail fat bikes driven fast on the street. I vastly prefer the bikes with suspension. Its just easier on your body. And if you are riding bike trails, whose grades are often left un-repaired when tree roots and whatnot interrupt their smoothness, a suspension fork vs. not having one will be a big deal for comfort. Sure it adds weight but its a great big ebike. Embrace the horror. :)

4. A hardtail cruiser with a solid fork and a step thru frame would be my last choice for a trail bike, pretty much. Doesn't mean you can't do it. The bike will do a trail as much as it can for a bike with nothing designed for same, but I can say with certainty the LX was made specifically for street and light XC trails whereas the cruiser was meant for SoCal boardwalk promenades and comfy street rides.

5. See 4. above. No. Just for starters the cruiser's front fork can't take much if any more tire width. The cruiser uses Vee Speedster tires and those are fantastic at that size for a comfortable street ride, by the way. They are also fully capable on dirt or gravel walking paths although the Speedster has an issue picking up sand or fine dirt and sending it up and back to the rider. I use a body fender on the down tube of the bike I have that uses them (26x2.8's). I also have another bike that I have used the 26x3.5's in the past and both provide a comfortable ride capable of displacing the weight of a big rider, with the 3.5's throwing back more sand though.

But you can put on Plus sized tires on the LX to take down its tire size - but I would not do it until you decide you want to. A 3-3.5" tire would be ideal on that bike and I have already seen someone use them on it.

The Bafang motors in the Sondors bikes have been de-tuned so I really doubt you will have much trouble with what is probably the most powerful production motor on the market causing any problems.

They are definitely big bikes. Not for small people although I have seen happy riders as small as 5'4" on the LX.
 

m@Robertson

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
A mechanic I know reported the Sondors ultra motor is unlike other ultra motors used by other OEM ebike makers. If correct that could well be a nightmare. Anyone here that can deny or confirm?
Being a moderator on the Sondors FB forum I've seen these bikes since the prototype phase: The motor is a standard Bafang Ultra with standard firmware inside, set to detune the motor so it peaks in the 1350-watt range (54v x 25a=1350w) and not be aggressive on the torque sensing. It also has a gear sensor that took quite a bit of work to ensure reliable operation. Essentially they reworked its behavior to make it as usable as possible for the inexperienced rider. If they didn't those same inexperienced riders would be breaking chains and taco'ing cogs and chainrings (and creating warranty issues) as the Sondors customer is typically not an experienced cyclist and has no experience with a powerful mid drive.

Its still a powerful motor and dumb mistakes can still turn you into a hiker. I know of one rider who upshifted under power on a trail while going up a fairly steep hill (like I said dumb mistakes) and snapped his chain. I always recommend a spare chain, master links and chain pliers go without fail into a mid drive rider's toolbag.
 

tomjasz

Well-Known Member
Being a moderator on the Sondors FB forum I've seen these bikes since the prototype phase:
Sondors bikes are still stuck in my craw. I watched owners spend significant dollars trying to make Sondors bikes better rides. Sure they were low priced but by the time they were, what I consider, street worthy another couple hundred in upgrades could have gotten a better ride. There are many happy Sondors riders, just not my cuppa.
 

PedalUma

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
Sondors bikes are still stuck in my craw. I watched owners spend significant dollars trying to make Sondors bikes better rides. Sure they were low priced but by the time they were, what I consider, street worthy another couple hundred in upgrades could have gotten a better ride. There are many happy Sondors riders, just not my cuppa.
I have worked on three Sondors bikes, posting photos of them here, including the Ultra and HD. Not my cuppa either. I like the handling and performance of light bikes. One just came in seconds ago with bald tires after three months. The loud army truck fat tires don't last on hard surfaces. This porker is 106 pounds! 45 in front and 59.9 to the rear. I never associated the name Ariel with porker before. Ariel is a sprite. I built an HD this week and do not recommend them. Too much power drain and too much power for a drivetrain, even when tuned down, and it is just too heavy. Give me a 35 pound eBike with some style. The second bike is in the que for a stealthy conversion. Now, that is my cup of tea. Even the brake shoes have sex appeal and style. Bikes like the 'Ariel' are vulgar.
 

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