Ebike for Long Distance Touring

Wanderlust

New Member
Good morning,

I recently left my job and so I figure there's no better time than now to fulfill my bucket list item of completing a long distance bicycle tour. I've done a 6 day trip on my non-electric bike, and decided that if I were to do a long tour, I would need to do it on an ebike. My route would be from Mississippi to Florida to Maine. I'll start heading east from Mississippi and then from Florida north similar to the proposed East Coast Greenway with some modifications - such as visiting friends/family along the Delmarva peninsula instead of DC/Baltimore, and heading to the Poconos instead of NYC.

I'd like to do the trip slowly, I would plan on averaging about 30 miles per day, mostly road, but some gravel/dirt paths may also be necessary. The ECG sections are mostly flat, but my detours will bring me into more mountainous terrain. My budget will be very tight, so I intend on camping as much as possible, which means I would like to get as long a distance as possible on a charge, I plan to buy a spare battery to extend my distance. Disc brakes and a good range of gears are on my list of requirements. I am also looking for an ebike that will be reliable, because my mechanical skills are limited. Also, to make things more challenging, I am 5'4", weigh 220lbs (+~40 lbs in gear), and need a step-through design due to some extra metal bits I have in my body. I figure I can spend up to $4000 on the bike + spare battery, but spending less will enable me to purchase better/lighter camping equipment.

Can you suggest an ebike that would be suitable for my tour? I'm also open to any other related advice.

Thanks!
 

flymeaway

Well-Known Member
I am 5'4", weigh 220lbs (+~40 lbs in gear
I'll give you my $.02 on what will probably be the most critical part of the bike; the wheel. By the time you get everything on that bike plus the weight of the bike, you'll be well over 300 lbs. That much weight puts added stress on the rims, and spokes. Do yourself a favor, buy a bike that takes 26" wheels and buy Ryde Andra 30 rims. Research the rims and you'll find that they are the toughest rims you can get for exactly the ride you'll be taking. The last thing you want are issues with breaking spokes and/or rim alignment issues. My other $.02 advice, buy a bike with a mid-drive motor.

Court J.
 

Berry78

Active Member
Bike comfort is going to be a huge priority. Ride as many bikes as you can to figure out the correct geometry. Rent bikes for a while if you can. A bike can feel great during a 10 minute test ride, not so great after a couple hours.

If it were me? I would start with doing 30 mile day trips. Learn how to do repairs and maintenance on the bike.

It sounds like you are in a hurry to jump in and go... do you have the luxury of time to prepare for a couple months?

The bike needs suspension. Front fork and seat post (body float or the like). Wider tires (around 2 inch).

The benefit of a middrive is easier tire changes. There are some very nice hub motor bikes too though.

If you get a relatively inexpensive bike, and it breaks, you might have enough money left to buy a new bike and continue.

A common type of motor system can help with repairs on the road, in that it will be easier to find a shop.

Trailer or panniers?
 

Wanderlust

New Member
Hi,

I'm not particularly in a hurry. I was thinking I may start touring in April, which gives me 5 months for planning. I haven't decided on pannier vs trailer yet. I don't intend to carry much with me.

My local ebike shop has Bulls, iZip, Pedego and EZ Motion bikes. Any feedback on the bikes from these manufacturers? I think I may be leaning toward the Bulls Lacuba; it is about $1000 over my planned budget though.
 

Jaladhi

New Member
A mid drive bike would be good given your requirements. You might be able to find a deal on last year's models if you look around. You could probably do more than 30 miles a day on an electric bike. A lot of people on this forum commute long distances on their ebikes.
 

Berry78

Active Member
It is great that you have time to plan and prepare.

I would recommend sticking with panniers, simpler in the long run. Especially since you plan to travel light.

Make a check list for what you are looking for in a bike. The number of bikes out there can get intimidating. This will help keep you straight.

If you put your list up, others can help add to it, and recommend bikes.
 

mrgold35

Well-Known Member
I have a 4" fat tire Radrover and I did 36 miles in 3 hours on mostly flat ground at around 11-13 mph (PAS level 3 out of 5). I still have +20% left on the battery indicator when I got home. I'm already at 270lbs, 61lbs of ebike, and around another 30-35lbs of riding gear and bike accessories. It took a lot longer to recharge the battery afterwards compared to the actual ride. Having an extra large 12.5" X 11.5" Sunlite Cloud-9 seat with Suntour NCX SP12 suspension post really added to the comfort of riding.

You might have to map out the route to see how long the average daily legs are. Might have to plan using both batteries in a day (ton of hills or extra long ride to next stop) to going 2 days without a charge (no power available) as a worst cast scenario. Might want to pick a bike with some extra gearing if you need to ride without power.

I wouldn't go very fast or get far with only 7 gears with my Radrover loaded down without power.
 

Joe Pipes

New Member
Hi,

I'm not particularly in a hurry. I was thinking I may start touring in April, which gives me 5 months for planning. I haven't decided on pannier vs trailer yet. I don't intend to carry much with me.

My local ebike shop has Bulls, iZip, Pedego and EZ Motion bikes. Any feedback on the bikes from these manufacturers? I think I may be leaning toward the Bulls Lacuba; it is about $1000 over my planned budget though.
Wunderlust. Sounds like a fantastic journey / adventure. I am the very happy owner of a Pedigo
https://www.pedegoelectricbikes.com/shop/28-classic-city-commuter/ with the 48v 15a battery
and Love it. It has incredible comfort and very good range. On one trip in NW Arkansas I made it about 49 miles into a 53 mile trip with very hilly steep inclines. I weight about 210 and pack so much gear my buddies joke that it takes a village to ride with me. My only hesitation is that it does not have front suspension, :( I do miss that since I do take this bad boy off road. and yes the looks are part of the fun. Must be a sight to see pee wee herman bouncing along the trails. But hey. I enjoy it.
I have no info on any other bikes, but am currently looking for a second bike for me, and this one will be for sale very soon. almost free. LOL.
Joe
 

upguy

New Member
Good morning,

I recently left my job and so I figure there's no better time than now to fulfill my bucket list item of completing a long distance bicycle tour. I've done a 6 day trip on my non-electric bike, and decided that if I were to do a long tour, I would need to do it on an ebike. My route would be from Mississippi to Florida to Maine. I'll start heading east from Mississippi and then from Florida north similar to the proposed East Coast Greenway with some modifications - such as visiting friends/family along the Delmarva peninsula instead of DC/Baltimore, and heading to the Poconos instead of NYC.

I'd like to do the trip slowly, I would plan on averaging about 30 miles per day, mostly road, but some gravel/dirt paths may also be necessary. The ECG sections are mostly flat, but my detours will bring me into more mountainous terrain. My budget will be very tight, so I intend on camping as much as possible, which means I would like to get as long a distance as possible on a charge, I plan to buy a spare battery to extend my distance. Disc brakes and a good range of gears are on my list of requirements. I am also looking for an ebike that will be reliable, because my mechanical skills are limited. Also, to make things more challenging, I am 5'4", weigh 220lbs (+~40 lbs in gear), and need a step-through design due to some extra metal bits I have in my body. I figure I can spend up to $4000 on the bike + spare battery, but spending less will enable me to purchase better/lighter camping equipment.

Can you suggest an ebike that would be suitable for my tour? I'm also open to any other related advice.

Thanks!
 

upguy

New Member
I have a 4 year old stormer st1. I have modified the bike by changing handlebars, fatter tires body float seat post and cloud 9 seat.
I have over 3000 miles on the bike and am on my second motor. My weekend rides are 40-75 miles and I carry (always) a second battery. The fatter tires and the body float are the greatest additions to my bike. I weigh 225 and the bike is a gem. I amin the midst of buying a second bike which will be a mid drive with drop out hubs (Flat tires on my stormer are a chore).
 

George S.

Well-Known Member
Not sure how you plan to charge if you are camping. There are some solar panel systems that are light, and some that fold. You need to plan this carefully, and the sun is not going to cooperate all the time. Karl Gesslein had an interesting article on charging.

https://electricbike-blog.com/2016/12/20/the-anarchists-guide-to-guerilla-ebike-charging/

Thirty miles a day could be a couple of hours. You would need to see how the overnight stops lay out. A few months of doing 2 hour rides a few times a week would help a lot. You could get by with a $2500 bike if you worked on. Some of the assembled bikes that Luna sells are OK. They might upgrade the rims. Mid-drive makes sense.

A lot of people talk about this kind of thing. Not sure how many do it. There are a couple of people who went cross country, notably @Ravi Kempaiah.
 

mrgold35

Well-Known Member
I saw this and I thought it would be cool way to cook and recharge USB electronic devices while camping for only $130. I haven't looked at the device enough to see how long it would take to recharge a ebike battery pack compared to just charging a smartphone. Any kind of dry fuel like wood, pine cones, or even non toxic paper trash might even work. You could just save some dry sticks in a ziploc bag if you run into some rain while on your trip to power the stove.

I would pick a few of these before the zombie apocalypse in a few years.

LINK: http://www.bioliteenergy.com/products/biolite-campstove

(Link Removed - No Longer Exists)

 

John ware

Active Member
Hey Wanderlust, how's the trip planning going? I did 7 day, self-contained 500 mile field test of touring on my ebike last summer and it was great fun and totally doable. I went the trailer route instead of panniers for the first time, and given the fact that I didn't have the ability to have front panniers on my Stromer ST2 it seemed like the right choice.

The one place I felt most vulnerable was my charger, sure the motor or controller might go out, but the charger you are pulling in and out of your bag every day and every time it got bumped I wondered if that was the end of my powered ride. A more casual pace like you are planning sounds like it would accommodate getting a replacement shipped to you. If I was doing a long unsupported ride I would definitely look into a more durable alternative to the stock charger that came with the bike.
 
Good point. I've done some long rides (350 mile GAP Trail/C&O Towpath) that were rough and bumpy on an St-1 Platinum pulling a BOB Trailer and kept fingers crossed that the charger wouldn't fail each evening as I charged my 3 batteries. The good news is it's lightweight. I may get a second one and haul it in long trips in case one fails and so I can charge two batteries at the same time.
 
Good point. I've done some long rides (350 mile GAP Trail/C&O Towpath) that were rough and bumpy on an St-1 Platinum pulling a BOB Trailer and kept fingers crossed that the charger wouldn't fail each evening as I charged my 3 batteries. The good news is it's lightweight. I may get a second one and haul it in long trips in case one fails and so I can charge two batteries at the same time.
One question--is there a good alternative to the stock Stromer ST-1 charger?
 

Ann M.

Well-Known Member
Grin Technology manufactures a number of high quality products for use with ebikes. You can read more and purchase the Cycle Satiator at their website or look for a US dealer that carries the Satiator chargers. These chargers will allow you to get a true 100% charge on your battery pack without damaging it and are great to help extend the life of lithium batteries.