Dash vs the other bikes I tried

Pace

Member
An electric bike is about the only kind of bike I didn't have other than a recumbent, so before buying, I tried to get a ride on as many different ones as I could at four different dealers. Here's what I thought of the 'competition')

First, my target usage is the following:
- 40+ mile round trip commute.
- each way, there's ~10 miles of fast clear roads and well paved paths, and around 1o miles of city riding in and around Boston (i.e. A lot of the roads suck)
- had to be a good pedelec, I don't care about throttles

What I tried:

Trek 7200
This was a basic electric bike on a hybrid/cruiser platform. It was an easy bike to ride, but I did not care for the very relaxed position. The motor is a rear hub, and the battery is on the rear rack, so the bike is quite rear-heavy. I think it's a bionx adaptation but I can't remember for sure. Most of the times the rear weight didn't affect the handling, but it was noticeable in comparison to other more well balanced bikes. Was a 20mph bike but would not maintain that up steep hills. Pedal assist kicked in quickly but had no 'feel', it was abrupt and not particularly proportional. This was a pleasant enough bike that I think would be good for a city bound commuter, but it just was not super exciting

Stromer st1, both platinum and elite
I tried the platinum first. These are good looking bikes, and the integrated batteries in the frame are slick. This is the bike I expected to like the most after my internet research before riding anything. It's built like a tank, both good and bad. The bike is quite powerful and got up to speed quickly in maximum assist, but was plenty fast even in lower assist levels. It is stable and composed at speed and it's steering is not twitchy, it feels more like a really light motorcycle. Brakes were powerful if not a bit grabby (not unusual for new hydraulics though). Gearing was 3x9 which I think is goofy on this bike... It should just be 1x9 or 10 and forget about the front derailleur. It's a very very heavy bike, would be a pain lugging it up some stairs I have to navigate, and I'd be looking for a crane to get it onto a roof rack. The display sucks. SUCKS. It might show some good information, but I wouldn't know because it was close to unreadable in full sunlight. It's also pretty small. This one little detail really dragged down my impression of this $4200 bike. The st-1 runs some pretty large tires, but there's no suspension, and on rough roads I thought it needed it. To me, the elite felt just like the platinum except you hit a wall at 20mph. It's supposed to have more torque, but I tried on some decent hills and I didn't notice it being superior to the platinum. The elite one that I rode had a loud freewheel, sounded like it was on its last legs. Pedal assist responsive as was decent, probably middle of the pack for the bikes I rode.

eFlow nitro
I liked this bike quite a bit. The one I rode was apparently the high torque model (20mph max), I didn't try the 28mph version. This is a very refined bike, had nice pedal assist and the unusual front suspension worked very well. I'm not sure what I think of the seat tube integrated battery. It looks better than standalone batteries, but not as good as down tube integrated ones. My test ride couldn't shift worth a damn, but it just needed derailed adjustment. In gear it was smooth. Still a heavy bike, but seemed more nimble than the stromer.

Specialized Turbo
Great looking bike, slick battery, also pretty heavy. I thought this had the nicest pedal assist responsiveness of the hub motor bikes I tried. Fast and fun. Not the most comfortable bike, I thought it rode fairly harshly on rough roads. This bike handles really nicely, tracks well at speed but still maneuverable. I liked it a lot--everything but the price. It looks like next year there's three variations coming including a front suspension turbo x for $4k, I think that's the price point that would have been better for the earlier models

Haibike Xduro RX 29er (and checked out the trekking model)
I tried this bike with road tires instead of stock knobbies since I wanted to commute with it. The trekking model was probably more in line with my usage, but there was not a frame size to fit me to try. It's very similar to the 29er except for some component specs though, so I'm pretty confident my riding impressions of the RX would match that of a trekking. Haibike use the Bosch mid drive systems, along with down tube mounted batteries. In pictures it looks really clunky, I expected to hate it. In person, the fit and finish of the haibike a is very high end, and they are great looking bikes. Only bike I got on that got an audible 'wow' from my wife. The Bosch mid drive is super smooth and is the best feeling pedelec in terms of pedal pressure responsiveness. I rode these at multiple dealers so I was always able to compare them to all the other bikes and it is in a completely different league in terms of pedal assist. Smooth like butter. On very steep hills, it was the fastest climber of the 20mph bikes. The drive is not silent, there's an audible 'snick-snick' as it kicks in, but wind noise above 15mph drowns it out, and my wife said she couldn't really hear it when I was going by. To the rider, I'd say it was noticeable, but not annoying. Since the drive works with the bikes gearing, it felt much more like you were working with the bike rather than along for the ride. In the hub motor bikes you can almost ignore the gear you are in much of the time... This might be good for some people but I like the experience to be more like riding a bike and less like being propelled by a scooter. The display systems on these bikes are beautiful, it makes displays on all the other bikes look like leftover 20 year old cyclometers. I can't imagine what their next gen gps displays will look like, they are already far ahead of the pack in this department. Specs on the xduro RX are pretty good... It has a nice air fork w/remote lockout and a very good 1x10 drivetrain. After riding lots of these bikes, i think this is the best setup. The haibike trekking has 3x9 via a sram dual drive that combines a 9 speed cassette with a 3 speed hub. That is kind of interesting and I suppose it could really pull a load up some steep hills but since the assist maxes at 20, I question the high range. So to me, the added weight of the internal geared hub is not worth it and a wide ranging 1x10 is perfect in combination with the assist. The trekking does add fenders, a rack and dynamo (!) powered lighting. I had fenders, racks, and a ixon light, so those didn't add as much value for me, but it's a nice buildout for this bike if you are looking for a commuter. The mid drive means bothe front and rear wheels are JUST WHEELS, which is awesome, and there is zero drag unassisted. I think by a fair margin, this was the best built and performing bike. The only thing I didn't like was the 20mph assist cap. You get to 20 quickly, and it really begs for more. Apparently there are a number of dongles/mods that get around the limiter and I considered this, but I would not bank on it working. A 28mph haibike like the superrace must be phenomenal, but they are pretty darn spendy, it would be hard to justify.

E3 Dash
This is of course the bike I got. I'll have more to say later on he real world performance I've been getting, but here I'll try to stick to the impressions I had from the test ride without any 20-20 hind sight. The dash is not a bad looking bike, though the battery is a bit angular/clunky. It felt noticeably lighter than bikes like the stromer. My bike is probably larger than I should have gotten by the book, but I liked the extra top tube length and longer wheel base. Riding position is not what I would call aggressive, but is a more athletic position than cruisers. I figured I could flip the stem to get lower . The dash is a fast bike. Assist level 1 gives you an easy 20-22 and level 4 gets you to 28 quickly. The front suspension is not high end but works well and gives the bike a good ride. I love the gearing...wide ranging 1x9 is perfect and the front chain wheel gives you enough gear inches to maintain28-30 when you want to. The micro shifter lets you dump the entire cassette in one big thumb push, which is good for coming to a stop from a fast run in 9th. The feel of the pedal assist is ok, not great. At intermediate pedaling effort, the assist will pulse in and out a bit, it really prefers you to either pedal easy or pedal hard. I was not expecting to like this bike (somewhat biased by it being the second cheapest one I tried), but it was a lot of fun to ride and the one I took for the longest test ride of any bike (I kept trying to find a weakness). The display on the dash is not elegant, but it is BIG and very readable (including aut backlighting when it gets dark). I rate it second behind the Bosch even though it has less functions than some others. The dash frame has mounts for racks and fenders, perfect for commuting. There is however no water bottle mounts --- booooooo. The dash has a throttle. It works up to 20, though if you don't pedal it takes a while to get to speed. Don't care, don't use it. The dash bars are crowded with the levers and controls and I thought the wiring was crowded and interfered with the brake barrel adjusters. Most bikes had hydraulic disks, the dash has shimano mechanical. They work ok. I like avid bb-7's better but these are ok. My test bike didn't have them properly broken in so the rear squeeled, but these brakes are fine for this bike. Cost aside, I put the dash behind the haibike, turbo and nitro (28 version). But it was cheaper than all of those and just as fast as the other speedsters. If he haibike was 28mph and 4k, I would have bought it, but the eFlow and specialized weren't better enough to overcome their extra price. So I took home the dash. I'll follow up soon with more on how it's been handling my 40 mile daily commutes
 
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Shea N Encinitas

Active Member
E3 Dash
This is of course the bike I got.,,, I'll follow up soon with more on how it's been handling my 40 mile daily commutes
Hey great and welcome to the Dashing club. I trust you are bringing your charger and topping off at 20 miles? I don't think you'll make 40.

Since we are both distance types you may want to have a look at the simple upgrades I've done (maybe you suggested them). 38c tires, dang 35.6 mph today, then I remembered I had the doggie on my back and chilled. BodyFloat, maybe take a beating for a week then get the BF, it will be love all over again my friend.

Cheers of congratulations, get ready to smile more. -S
 

Pace

Member
Yep that was me that suggested those marathon racers you just got. 35.6 ---nice! I can make 40 miles of range easily if I stay at PAS1 the whole time, but when I bought the bike I asked the dealer to throw in an extra charger -- so one charger at home, one at work and I refresh the battery on each end. This lets me do PAS 1 for the 10 miles of city riding and PAS 2-4 for the fast 10 miles. I usually use 60-70% each way under this scheme and a couple of days I used 90+% by using more PAS4. Once I download my gps logs I'll post them up, I've been keeping mile by mile splits for each ride.

I'm glad I have the front suspension, but I think it's been ok w/o rear so far. The first couple of days before I swapped pedals I was loosing footing over rough sections (will Somerville ever pave Beacon st???) making it hard to offload the saddle, but now I'm clipped in (SPD mtb) and it's much better.
 

Shea N Encinitas

Active Member
33 miles has been my max around here, PAS 1, no throttle, tucked in the wind. But I do have a few elevations on my route, one 450' or so, another 280' plus a few less significant valleys. Hilly geography is one of the things I like about the region.

I've thought about clipping in, my speedplay road clips are prolly 1/2 VS the 9/16 cranks on the Dash, so I'm SOL there. I don't miss wonky walking on the cleats but I 'get' all the reasons to clip in.

Regarding front suspension, maybe you've seen my rants and graphics, if so you know that Suntour will slow down pretty quickly. I thought I was getting a better form on the rig but soon realized the reduced bobbing had nothing to do with me.

2nd battery fever around here, any day now. Did a shorty on PAS 3 with the doggie today in anticipation of being able to break out of my PAS 1 lockdown. Funny how used to ONE I have become, 2, 3 and I feel the impulse, hardly any use for level FOUR, 3 is typically enough and full throttle = PAS4 anyway. Just completed another charge... TTYL, -S
 

Pace

Member
Yeah, my commute has a few long but gradual hills, nothing really steep, so it's a good match for the dash.

For shoes, I've always worn mtb cycle shoes even on my road bikes, so the cleats are recessed and you can walk normally.

I'll have to look up your notes on the suntour. I knew some things were going to be compromises on the dash for its price point, but I will probably target some other upgrades before the fork
 

Paul E.

Active Member
The first couple of days before I swapped pedals I was loosing footing over rough sections (will Somerville ever pave Beacon st???) making it hard to offload the saddle, but now I'm clipped in (SPD mtb) and it's much better.
Is it possible to attach old timey toe clips to the Dash standard pedals? From the few pictures I saw, it doesn't look like it.