e-bike rollercoaster. What's next?

dynamic

Active Member
Region
USA
At least one of my priority current's is likely being returned (maybe both). However, I still need an e-bike. I *really like* CVT and Belt Drive. And I am considering two routes:

1. A straight up replacement like: Specialized Como/Vado or Gazelle C380+. Maybe VVolt. The thing is, the current had a *lot* of power which made it possible to tow my 8 year old + me up 12% grade. I still need that.
2. Go for a cargo bike. Tern GSD leads the pack here. But, the money is getting crazy.

The cargo bike is because I really wanted to be able to move 2 kids. And, I really can't do that on a regular e-bike.

Is there anything else I can/should consider?
Second: Como vs Vado. I can get the Como currently, but I am unsure which would be better for me. We setup my wife's current with higher handlebars and it really is easier to ride. And I think there is even less hand numbness (which has been a thing even with gloves on my more lean forward setup current).

The goal is to keep the price down to the "minimum" needed. The Priority was great, but I think the motor can't handle the above loads. ( Having motor issues on one of them ).

Thoughts?
 

indianajo

Well-Known Member
Tern cargo bikes have 20" wheels. That may be okay in a major city with an instant pothole repair program, but not in my burg. I ride 26" wheels . I can't miss the potholes in the rain snow or coming out of a traffic light in a line of cars.
Power matters with a stout load & rolling terrain. I can grind up any hill with 80 lb supplies & 20 lb water tools parts, but I have 24 speeds down to 1:1 ratio. The 1000 w Mac12t hub motor sure got me up the 80 hills faster - 8 mph @ 330 lb gross if I didn't pedal at all or carry momentum from the previous downgrade. You can't buy a bike with that now, ~ 30 states have limited ebikes to 750 w. A bosch performance line may do the job but at a cost of $$$$. Shimano mids have lower torque and need a 48 or 53 rear sprocket to drag a heavy load up a steep hill, like SF. Torque is not everything, horsepower is torque * rpm * wheel diameter.
If your shopping & want a warrenty, big wheel cargo bike manufacturers include xtracycle, yuba (mine shown left) pedego (750 w) reiss & mueller, giant momentum, blix (24") eunorau (24") . If you can make mount brackets & match the wire colors, a envoy mongoose non-power cargo bike plus a kit could come in under $2000. I'd prefer a mac12t kit with 26a controller, but seems to be no longer available in the US. Mid drive kits like the 1000w bafang require some machine work of the installation, and some special crank tools. Plus more frequent chain replacements.
Buying a regular bike and putting behind a trailer for the kids works if you have no worry about blind/distracted motorists overrunning your kids. Like a town with good bike trails. Not in my town. My neighbor was overrun from the rear by a car and went over the hood, spent a night in the hospital. Different outcome if passengers were 8" above the ground.
With the power in a front hub drive you can experiment with CVT & belts to your pleasure. Later, after the bike has worked for a while and you've saved up more money. I had a IGH on my rear for a while, found it added 10% to my times over the same route versus derailleur. Don't buy a Sturmey Archer S80, the plastic shifter ring wore out in ~800 miles. My front drive is fine, but I don't use power on ice, wet rock steel or wet lumber bridges. I climb hills up to 15% on pavement with 330 lb gross. No slippage. Use torque arms, some high torque Mac motors on ebay for sale with the wires twisted off.
 
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Jim1348

Member
At least one of my priority current's is likely being returned (maybe both). However, I still need an e-bike. I *really like* CVT and Belt Drive. And I am considering two routes:

1. A straight up replacement like: Specialized Como/Vado or Gazelle C380+...Thoughts?

I waited for a long time, like a year or two, before actually buying this spring. I bought a Gazelle C380+ for me and one for my wife.

I wanted CVT, belt drive and a type 3 e-bike. They were expensive, but I like them.

I also looked at the Harley-Davidson RUSH/CTY SPEED e-bikes.
 

Dewey

Well-Known Member
Check out some of the bikes listed on Table 2 of my blog post on the Enviolo CVT, there are others but my list is focused on those available here in N America. The Dost Drop/Kope CVT models are $500 more than the Priority Current, the BBS02 motor is sufficient power, though you should pedal in a lower ratio to keep the motor spinning when climbing hills loaded or it will overheat, while it doesn't have a torque PAS sensor it has a throttle that helps you get going. Other bikes with the power you want are over a grand more expensive. Avoid Vado/Como 3.0 IGH models that use a 50nm motor.
 
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dynamic

Active Member
Region
USA
Tern cargo bikes have 20" wheels. That may be okay in a major city with an instant pothole repair program, but not in my burg. I ride 26" wheels . I can't miss the potholes in the rain snow or coming out of a traffic light in a line of cars.
Power matters with a stout load & rolling terrain. I can grind up any hill with 80 lb supplies & 20 lb water tools parts, but I have 24 speeds down to 1:1 ratio. The 1000 w Mac12t hub motor sure got me up the 80 hills faster - 8 mph @ 330 lb gross if I didn't pedal at all or carry momentum from the previous downgrade. You can't buy a bike with that now, ~ 30 states have limited ebikes to 750 w. A bosch performance line may do the job but at a cost of $$$$. Shimano mids have lower torque and need a 48 or 53 rear sprocket to drag a heavy load up a steep hill, like SF. Torque is not everything, horsepower is torque * rpm * wheel diameter.
If your shopping & want a warrenty, big wheel cargo bike manufacturers include xtracycle, yuba (mine shown left) pedego (750 w) reiss & mueller, giant momentum, blix (24") eunorau (24") . If you can make mount brackets & match the wire colors, a envoy mongoose non-power cargo bike plus a kit could come in under $2000. I'd prefer a mac12t kit with 26a controller, but seems to be no longer available in the US. Mid drive kits like the 1000w bafang require some machine work of the installation, and some special crank tools. Plus more frequent chain replacements.
Buying a regular bike and putting behind a trailer for the kids works if you have no worry about blind/distracted motorists overrunning your kids. Like a town with good bike trails. Not in my town. My neighbor was overrun from the rear by a car and went over the hood, spent a night in the hospital. Different outcome if passengers were 8" above the ground.
With the power in a front hub drive you can experiment with CVT & belts to your pleasure. Later, after the bike has worked for a while and you've saved up more money. I had a IGH on my rear for a while, found it added 10% to my times over the same route versus derailleur. Don't buy a Sturmey Archer S80, the plastic shifter ring wore out in ~800 miles. My front drive is fine, but I don't use power on ice, wet rock steel or wet lumber bridges. I climb hills up to 15% on pavement with 330 lb gross. No slippage. Use torque arms, some high torque Mac motors on ebay for sale with the wires twisted off.
Some clarification: bigger wheels are better for potholes?
Also: I am not doing any work to build the bike. It must be a purchase and supported thing (honestly, the fact that priority is an internet direct company is the biggest problem. That's one reason I am leaning specialized at this point). I also likely want mid-drive based on what I know. No throttle (the point is exercise but assisted).

Currently, my 8 year old rides in a weehoo. This is probably the only season for that and he will need to be on his own bike next year. The 2 year old (three next month) will likely take his place on the weehoo. The two year old currently uses a rackmount seat and he loves it. My total max weight is 350+ lbs. 250 for me and 100 for the trailer. Realistically probably a bit above that.

Taking the current up my 12% hill with the trailer is *hard*. I will get better, and have, but a less capable e-bike may be a struggle.
 

dynamic

Active Member
Region
USA
I waited for a long time, like a year or two, before actually buying this spring. I bought a Gazelle C380+ for me and one for my wife.

I wanted CVT, belt drive and a type 3 e-bike. They were expensive, but I like them.

I also looked at the Harley-Davidson RUSH/CTY SPEED e-bikes.

Gazelle is on the table, but I have no dealers here. So, I am a bit concerned about them. Will they support you through your LBS?
 

dynamic

Active Member
Region
USA
Check out some of the bikes listed on Table 2 of my blog post on the Enviolo CVT, there are others but my list is focused on those available here in N America. The Dost Drop/Kope CVT models are $500 more than the Priority Current, the BBS02 motor is sufficient power, though you should pedal in a lower ratio to keep the motor spinning when climbing hills loaded or it will overheat, while it doesn't have a torque PAS sensor it has a throttle that helps you get going. Other bikes with the power you want are over a grand more expensive. Avoid Vado/Como 3.0 IGH models that use a 50nm motor.
My first choice is a specialized 5.0 igh (como or vado). Priority Current is not the price limit. I liked them because they were half the price (costco) of the specialized 5.0 igh and had more torque and power on paper.
I actually read through that blog before buying.
I don't want something that overheats (that is probably what happened yesterday on the current). It was hot (for here, 90 degrees), I was in pedal assist 5 (highest level) going up my "big hill" (about a mile with grade ranging from 6-12% according to ride with gps). I was in the easiest gear with no trailer and it stopped working with an error code (plenty of battery left).

Based on renting a 2021 4.0 vado, I am a bit concerned about their power for my load. While I loved riding that bike, it definitely does not have the sheer power of the current.
 

indianajo

Well-Known Member
Some clarification: bigger wheels are better for potholes?
The bike doesn't fall as far into a pothole if the wheels are bigger. Regular frame bikes can have a front suspension fork. Cargo bikes do not. Suspension forks do not work with front hub drives. I gave up rear hub because I could never find a 32 tooth freewheel in stock anywhere to fit the rear motor. Sometimes I have to pedal up the hill on my own power: rain can take out the throttle, or once burnt the pins off the ASI controller driving the Mac. Or call a tow truck, which could never find me out where my bike quits.
I can work as much as I want with my throttle. I try to keep my pulse 110-130 over my 4 hour commute. With 8 speed chain & a hub drive, my first chain lasted ~5000 miles. I oil biweekly with sus68 hydraulic fluid (non detergent) and only clean the chain when it gets sticks, grass stems, or string wrapped up in it.
Torque starts a weight up a hill. watts (horsepower) determines how many revolutions per minute the motor can make at that torque. Ie how fast you can go. I loved my Mac12t that had a torque curve that peaked at lower speeds than a 10t. Clutch was defective when I bought the last one in the US, and got worse over 14 months. I'm riding a 500 w bafang hub motor with a 10 amp controller instead of 26, and it is much slower up the hills. But with Shanghai shut down last winter, I could actually buy it.
 
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Dewey

Well-Known Member
My first choice is a specialized 5.0 igh (como or vado). Priority Current is not the price limit. I liked them because they were half the price (costco) of the specialized 5.0 igh and had more torque and power on paper.
I actually read through that blog before buying.
I don't want something that overheats (that is probably what happened yesterday on the current). It was hot (for here, 90 degrees), I was in pedal assist 5 (highest level) going up my "big hill" (about a mile with grade ranging from 6-12% according to ride with gps). I was in the easiest gear with no trailer and it stopped working with an error code (plenty of battery left).

Based on renting a 2021 4.0 vado, I am a bit concerned about their power for my load. While I loved riding that bike, it definitely does not have the sheer power of the current.
Yay WeeHoo FTW, I tow my 7 year old on a WeeHoo, they’re fun.

If you decide to get a cargo bike, the Tern GSD is popular. Another friend uses her Tern GSD S00 Gen 1 as a car replacement, the only thing you must do is have it serviced regularly and tell the shop to check the rear axle bolts are tightened to spec. My friend lost a rear axle bolt this spring, based off other reports this appears to be a common problem with the bolt-on hub Syntace mounting interface on the Gen 1 GSD S00 with Enviolo Sportive hub. I haven’t had any problems with the acorn nuts coming loose from the solid axle on my Enviolo Cargo hub, but the GSD is a heavier bike than my city bike, with different stress over the rear wheel from carrying a passenger on the bike, so I guess the vibration over time loosened the side that came off. I don’t know if they addressed the issue with the Gen 2 GSD.
 
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dynamic

Active Member
Region
USA
Yay WeeHoo FTW, I tow my 7 year old on a WeeHoo, they’re fun.

If you decide to get a cargo bike, the Tern GSD is popular. Another friend uses her Tern GSD S00 Gen 1 as a car replacement, the only thing you must do is have it serviced regularly and tell the shop to check the rear axle bolts are tightened to spec. My friend lost a rear axle bolt this spring, based off other reports this appears to be a common problem with the bolt-on hub Syntace mounting interface on the Gen 1 GSD S00 with Enviolo Sportive hub. I haven’t had any problems with the acorn nuts coming loose from the solid axle on my Enviolo Cargo hub, but the GSD is a heavier bike than my city bike, with different stress over the rear wheel from carrying a passenger on the bike, so I guess the vibration over time loosened the side that came off. I don’t know if they addressed the issue with the Gen 2 GSD.
Side question on the weehoo: I get a fair amount of sway on it. I know I am using the right adapter, it just feels a bit scary. Is this just a 100lbs of kid and trailer thing? (sometimes it is stable, especially at higher speeds). Is my kid just creating a lot of motion?
Tern GSD is long on the list. But, getting it is really hard here. Stock is basically non-existent and *only* the two battery rohloff version was available last I checked. That is a lot of money. Now, if I *actually* replaced a car, I would do it in a heart beat. But the wife vetoed a one car household.
At this moment, It is looking like if I return the current(s), I will not have bikes this year. Specialized are unobtanium for 5.0 igh in my size ( there is a derailleur 5.0 available, or there was, but I think I really do want belt drive. I loved the CVT). Gazelle has no dealer I can get to and tern is obscenely priced.
My LBS has a 4.0 vado available soon ( not built yet ). I *could* do that, but when you go through the LBS directly, you don't get the specialized financing. Which, unfortunately, may be a deal breaker. They also only have 1, and my wife needs a bike too.

*sigh*
 

Dewey

Well-Known Member
Side question on the weehoo: I get a fair amount of sway on it. I know I am using the right adapter, it just feels a bit scary. Is this just a 100lbs of kid and trailer thing? (sometimes it is stable, especially at higher speeds). Is my kid just creating a lot of motion?
Tern GSD is long on the list. But, getting it is really hard here. Stock is basically non-existent and *only* the two battery rohloff version was available last I checked. That is a lot of money. Now, if I *actually* replaced a car, I would do it in a heart beat. But the wife vetoed a one car household.
At this moment, It is looking like if I return the current(s), I will not have bikes this year. Specialized are unobtanium for 5.0 igh in my size ( there is a derailleur 5.0 available, or there was, but I think I really do want belt drive. I loved the CVT). Gazelle has no dealer I can get to and tern is obscenely priced.
My LBS has a 4.0 vado available soon ( not built yet ). I *could* do that, but when you go through the LBS directly, you don't get the specialized financing. Which, unfortunately, may be a deal breaker. They also only have 1, and my wife needs a bike too.

*sigh*
Yes, you're right, I recently got to ride with my daughter using a Burley Piccolo trailer cycle for comparison, and the Burley is much lighter than the WeeHoo with a better balanced attachment to the bike on a rack mount above the rear wheel. That being said my daughter preferred riding in the recumbent seat of the WeeHoo, and last year I was able to have my shop replace the rear wheel and freewheel using basic BMX parts so it's easily serviceable. I do feel the WeeHoo pulling the seatpost under me from side to side when turning corners or when my daughter is pedaling hard.

Specialized changing their business model to also sell online direct is causing some headaches among dealers.

Would you be OK with a mail order bike if it used a brand name motor that could be serviced by a certified mechanic?
 
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AHicks

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Snow Bird - Summer S.E. Michigan, Winter Gulf Coast North Central Fl.
Would you be OK with a mail order bike if it used a brand name motor that could be serviced by a certified mechanic?
Before you go here, I would confirm he was WILLING and able....

Another line, if you can find somebody local to work on them, might be the Evelo line up.
 

dynamic

Active Member
Region
USA
Yes, you're right, I recently got to ride with my daughter using a Burley Piccolo trailer cycle for comparison, and the Burley is much lighter than the WeeHoo with a better balanced attachment to the bike on a rack mount above the rear wheel. That being said my daughter preferred riding in the recumbent seat of the WeeHoo, and last year I was able to have my shop replace the rear wheel and freewheel using basic BMX parts so it's easily serviceable. I do feel the WeeHoo pulling the seatpost under me from side to side when turning corners or when my daughter is pedaling hard.

Specialized changing their business model to also sell online direct is causing some headaches among dealers.

Would you be OK with a mail order bike if it used a brand name motor that could be serviced by a certified mechanic?
The idea for priority was that it wouldn't need much work. The LBS is *willing* to do it (and there is a community LBS I haven't talked to yet partly because I wanted the relationship with the specialized shop) but when the bike isn't from them, you wait for work order time frame availability. I know specialized is messing with dealers, and it sucks because my LBS has exactly *one* vado available. I basically have to order online and deliver to store to get one.
One reason I am not simply fixing the current I love (and I do love this bike. I just tailed my wife down the hill into town to drop it off to be packed up. she was in her car. It was a blast of a ride) is work time availability. I lost almost 3 weeks waiting for them to build the bike, and would likely lose at least that much more waiting for them to install a new motor (they are booking into august). And my experience with this kind of technology is I still have a thing with the same flaw, and now it's my job to avoid the flaw.
They are trying to work packing up my bike(s) around other things.
The short answer is: if I had a timely way to support an internet ordered bike, yes, I am ok with it. I will talk to the community LBS to see if they are a better match for me. But, at the same time, if the specialized bike dealer told me 3+ weeks to fix a bike they just sold me, I would return that too. And, I don't mean stuff like flat tires (which I am sure they would work into their schedule).

I love priority, it's a great company. The bike is exactly what I wanted. And if I could get it with a better motor, I would probably just do that.
 

dynamic

Active Member
Region
USA
Before you go here, I would confirm he was WILLING and able....

Another line, if you can find somebody local to work on them, might be the Evelo line up.

Evelo has been on the table. But like everything else.... september. I also have not been convinced that the cost savings over vado/como is worth the potential LBS hassles.
Gonna look through their lineup again. (their bikes seem to have a *lot* of overlap as well).
 

Dewey

Well-Known Member
if I had a timely way to support an internet ordered bike, yes, I am ok with it. I will talk to the community LBS to see if they are a better match for me. But, at the same time, if the specialized bike dealer told me 3+ weeks to fix a bike they just sold me, I would return that too.

This is reasonable, I don't blame you for wanting the support of a LBS that stands behind the expensive ebike you bought from a brand they sell. I've sometimes wondered about BikesDirect ebikes from off-brands like Motobecane that use name-brand Shimano motors, if those would be scheduled and treated as a normal service by bike shops that had a Shimano certified mechanic, the same way Bosch certified mechanics at the largest DC ebike dealer will work on a Bosch powered ebike from any brand regardless of where you bought it. Some shops may offer the use of a loaner while your ebike is in for service, our local Pedego dealer does that using bikes from his rental fleet and it's great for commuters to have that level of service.
 

AlanDB

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Iowa
I bought an Evelo Compass etrike for my wife about 3 years ago (purchased online). Evelo contracted with my local LBS to receive, assemble and set it up. The LBS even gave my wife a brief test ride and tutorial on using the controls when we picked it up. I think while under warranty, Evelo will also try to contract with a LBS for any warranty repair that might be needed. I have not had to service the Compass yet other than just the simple things I do myself and have not needed any kind of warranty service. So I don't know if my LBS would be willing to work on it or not. The trike has just over 1000 miles on it now, so I am sure the time will come when it needs service/repair and I will find out.
 

TrevorB

Active Member
If you go with derailleur bike then it's not a big deal to change gearing. Ideally buy bike with 12spd 10-51t cassette failing that fit 11-50t cassette to 11spd. Most 11spds will have 11-42t cassettes, few come with 11-46t which maybe enough. If planning on fitting 50t cassette do some research as not all 11spd derailleur support them.

You can also change chainring. 20mph bikes will have 38-40t while 28mph typically use 44-48t.
 

dynamic

Active Member
Region
USA
I just want to give a shout out to priority support! They really are doing everything they can to fix my issue and make me comfortable with the product. I don’t know yet if it will work, but it won’t be because priority didn’t try! Seriously great support.

In other news, I took over my wife’s current and had the most amazing rides today. Totaled 11 miles across three rides. And I really wanted to do more. I hit 43 mph on a 16% grade downhill. And hauled my son home from school in the weehoo. It was fantastic!
 

Dewey

Well-Known Member
Sounds like you’re enjoying your wife’s Current. You mentioned on another thread an issue with the weehoo hitting the rack. I wrap a piece of inner tube around the seatpost and clamp a second seatpost clamp over it to raise the hitch height.