ebike for someone who still wants to work-out & climb hills

carteriii

New Member
Is there a reasonably priced ebike ($2k or less ???) with gears appropriate for climbing even without turning on pedal-assist (or a throttle)?

I used to like to climb hills but now I'm well into my 50's, I weigh a lot more, and I'm REALLY out of shape. I still ride my 15 and 25 year-old hard-tail mountain bikes but the largest rear sprocket has only 28 teeth which isn't enough for me (in my condition) to make it up a lot of hills. For this reason, I'm looking for an ebike to provide some assistance, but ideally only when necessary.

90% of the time I ride in bike lanes or paved bike trails, but I ride on a dirt road or horse trail just often enough that I like the flexibility of a "mountain bike" (mostly for the wider tires) even though I never again have the desire for some technical single track.

I thought about simply buying a new bike with a better granny gear, but I fear that no granny gear will be sufficient as I continue to age. So I'd like to purchase an ebike, but I still want to be able to use it for exercise while I'm still able. Ideally I'd only turn on pedal-assist when I need it (& yes, I realize an ebike will be a lot heavier) but it doesn't seem like most ebikes under $5k even have gears or a cassette appropriate for climbing "on my own". I'm starting to think that I might need to buy a conversion kit for a non-ebike, but that's why I'm here in this forum to ask a wider audience for an ebike recommendation that might meet my desire. With that as background, I'll repeat my question from above and expand with two others . . .

Is there a reasonably priced ebike ($2k or less ???) with gears appropriate for climbing even without turning on pedal-assist (or a throttle)?

Is there a reasonably priced ebike on which I could swap the cassette to get what I'd like? I haven't seen anyone change cassettes so this seems unlikely but I'm open to it.

If I need to go with a conversion kit, any specific recommendations?

Thanks in advance!
 

Art Deco

Well-Known Member
Actually, there are several around $2000 -$3000 if you can find them in stock anywhere. Not my thing but you might very well find an electric mountain bike that would work for a bit less money or even a Vado at a bit more.
 

carteriii

New Member
Somehow I had not seen the Turbo Vado line until you just mentioned it, and it does look like what I've been trying to find (probably as I was using $2k when searching), so thank you @Art Deco ! Does any other similar brand or model come to mind that you've seen?
 

Lightning P38

Active Member
Is there a reasonably priced ebike ($2k or less ???) with gears appropriate for climbing even without turning on pedal-assist (or a throttle)?

I used to like to climb hills but now I'm well into my 50's, I weigh a lot more, and I'm REALLY out of shape. I still ride my 15 and 25 year-old hard-tail mountain bikes but the largest rear sprocket has only 28 teeth which isn't enough for me (in my condition) to make it up a lot of hills. For this reason, I'm looking for an ebike to provide some assistance, but ideally only when necessary.

90% of the time I ride in bike lanes or paved bike trails, but I ride on a dirt road or horse trail just often enough that I like the flexibility of a "mountain bike" (mostly for the wider tires) even though I never again have the desire for some technical single track.

I thought about simply buying a new bike with a better granny gear, but I fear that no granny gear will be sufficient as I continue to age. So I'd like to purchase an ebike, but I still want to be able to use it for exercise while I'm still able. Ideally I'd only turn on pedal-assist when I need it (& yes, I realize an ebike will be a lot heavier) but it doesn't seem like most ebikes under $5k even have gears or a cassette appropriate for climbing "on my own". I'm starting to think that I might need to buy a conversion kit for a non-ebike, but that's why I'm here in this forum to ask a wider audience for an ebike recommendation that might meet my desire. With that as background, I'll repeat my question from above and expand with two others . . .

Is there a reasonably priced ebike ($2k or less ???) with gears appropriate for climbing even without turning on pedal-assist (or a throttle)?

Is there a reasonably priced ebike on which I could swap the cassette to get what I'd like? I haven't seen anyone change cassettes so this seems unlikely but I'm open to it.

If I need to go with a conversion kit, any specific recommendations?

Thanks in advance!

I added an e-assist kit to my road recumbent bike, for $1,200 last year. That has worked out perfect for me. I was getting tired of walking up long hills. I can put out about 100 watts, and I can set the ekit to put out 200 watts, so I can climb a hill and not kill myself.

I have 5 power assist levels, and I run it in the lower levels, so I can get a 40 mile range. I can get as much of a workout as I want. A few weeks ago, did a 34 mile route with club riders, and climbed 2,800 ft. and had 40% charge left in the battery at the end. I was tired, but not exhausted. I was back of the pack the whole time, but we regrouped a few times. Great time.
 

RandallS

Well-Known Member
There are tons of choices for what describe. First thing would be to decide if you want LBS support or you're a DIY type of person. If LBS is your choice, I would stick to the big 3 of Specialized, Giant and Trek. You may have to go above $2k to get what you want though. The Giant Explore is $2500 and is a good compromise between MTB and city bike. As far as direct to consumer bikes, there are many to choose from but AFAIK, most will be a bit heavy for unpowered climbing. A lot of bikes allow you to tune down your PAS assistance, so you can dial in the level of grunt you need to apply!

Good luck with the search, and don't gat caught in paralysis by analysis like I always do!
 

Art Deco

Well-Known Member
Trek, Yamaha, and Canondale have something in their lineups as well, but IDK if Canondale has a mid drive available.
 

indianajo

Well-Known Member
In mid drives only yamaha shimano and brose don't drag with the power off.
I bought a 24 speed cargo bike (shown left yuba bikes) without power because I want to pedal myself when the wind is okay, and I need to get 80 lb groceries + me up 15% grades out near my summer camp. Ratios were 32:32 to 52:11 which covers all scenarios. that include a triple front sprocket 32,42,52, which you can't buy with a mid drive. Yamaha allows you 2 front sprockets. rear is 32 to 11, but some mountain bikes you can get rear sprockets up to 48 teeth. I just hate the mountain bike seating position, flat hands go to sleep on me. Also 2 mountain bikes threw me on my chin 3 times. This bike had sram shifters (no adjustments required) and disk brakes, which the kiddy quality mountain bikes (diamondback, pacific) I was riding did not.
Then I put a geared hub motor on the cargo bike, for windy days (about 40% of the time since 2017) when my 3.5 hour commute could drag into 6 hours. $840 conversion cost.
I still ride unpowered about 75% of the time, but the way the weather patterns work, 40% of the time I have a >12 mph headwind since global warming. I ride out the summer camp when it is going to be dry, and back to town when it is going to rain for several days. trip is 3.5 hours whatever the weather is doing, and my heart gets plenty of exercise.
BTW with my 8 speed rear cluster & front hub drive, I got 5000 miles on my first chain. You won't get that much with a 10 speed rear cluster, and mid drives wear out chain rapidly too.
The cheapest unpowered multispeed cargo bike is the mongoose envoy @ ~$800 but you won't get sram shifters for that price. Mine was a yubabike bodaboda for $1500 with 2 bags & center stand. Hub motor kit was $221, 17.5 ah battery was $620.
 
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Alaskan

Well-Known Member
The new Gen 4 Bosch motors disengage when the power is switched off. There is no drag in manual mode on the new Bosch motors.
 

Art Deco

Well-Known Member
I rode my new Como without assistance most of the first week just to get used to a bike again after decades, so it's quite doable for 5 or 6 miles anyway, and it's almost 50 pounds of bike. Now I leave assist on eco but have it dialed down to only 20% unless I click it up to sport or turbo. Some hub drives are light enough to pedal unassisted, too.
 

Slappy

New Member
Is there a reasonably priced ebike ($2k or less ???) with gears appropriate for climbing even without turning on pedal-assist (or a throttle)?

I used to like to climb hills but now I'm well into my 50's, I weigh a lot more, and I'm REALLY out of shape. I still ride my 15 and 25 year-old hard-tail mountain bikes but the largest rear sprocket has only 28 teeth which isn't enough for me (in my condition) to make it up a lot of hills. For this reason, I'm looking for an ebike to provide some assistance, but ideally only when necessary.

90% of the time I ride in bike lanes or paved bike trails, but I ride on a dirt road or horse trail just often enough that I like the flexibility of a "mountain bike" (mostly for the wider tires) even though I never again have the desire for some technical single track.

I thought about simply buying a new bike with a better granny gear, but I fear that no granny gear will be sufficient as I continue to age. So I'd like to purchase an ebike, but I still want to be able to use it for exercise while I'm still able. Ideally I'd only turn on pedal-assist when I need it (& yes, I realize an ebike will be a lot heavier) but it doesn't seem like most ebikes under $5k even have gears or a cassette appropriate for climbing "on my own". I'm starting to think that I might need to buy a conversion kit for a non-ebike, but that's why I'm here in this forum to ask a wider audience for an ebike recommendation that might meet my desire. With that as background, I'll repeat my question from above and expand with two others . . .

Is there a reasonably priced ebike ($2k or less ???) with gears appropriate for climbing even without turning on pedal-assist (or a throttle)?

Is there a reasonably priced ebike on which I could swap the cassette to get what I'd like? I haven't seen anyone change cassettes so this seems unlikely but I'm open to it.

If I need to go with a conversion kit, any specific recommendations?

Thanks in advance!

Do you need full suspension or not? Do you care about a mid drive vs. hub motor?

A hub motor hard-tail might be good for you. It's a pretty cheap combo on e-bikes, so you can find many under $2k. Provides assist when you need it but when its off, the bike is a regular old pedaler.

Remember you can always lower your crank ring to be smaller tooth, that will give you more torque at every gear (at the cost of high speed).

M2S R750 is $1800 and has an 11-34 with 38t at the crank. That's pretty good climbing gearing (1.18 - 3.45 ratios). Plus a strong 750W 80nm hub motor to get your up the hills.
 

carteriii

New Member
You guys are all awesome. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Most of all, you have opened my eyes to a number of other brands and possibilities, switching me from frustrated to now optimistic I absolutely can find a bike that meets my needs. You've exposed me to a number of new bikes, components, & topics that I now need to research some more (trying not to get into analysis-paralysis).

I had not heard of Motobecane and Bikes Direct. The price there is clearly very appealing so I've been reading many other forums posts with people's experiences there. M2S bikes are also new to me so I'm take a look at them.

Answering a few of your questions to me, I don't have a strong preference between LBS & DIY. I always like to support a LBS, even for a bit more, but not if they don't offer the product I want. I do not need full suspension, and I think I'd even prefer hard-tail simply for cost & weight. I don't have a strong preference for hub vs. mid-drive.

Again, thank you all. I sincerely appreciate your help.
 

Art Deco

Well-Known Member
You guys are all awesome. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Most of all, you have opened my eyes to a number of other brands and possibilities, switching me from frustrated to now optimistic I absolutely can find a bike that meets my needs. You've exposed me to a number of new bikes, components, & topics that I now need to research some more (trying not to get into analysis-paralysis).

I had not heard of Motobecane and Bikes Direct. The price there is clearly very appealing so I've been reading many other forums posts with people's experiences there. M2S bikes are also new to me so I'm take a look at them.

Answering a few of your questions to me, I don't have a strong preference between LBS & DIY. I always like to support a LBS, even for a bit more, but not if they don't offer the product I want. I do not need full suspension, and I think I'd even prefer hard-tail simply for cost & weight. I don't have a strong preference for hub vs. mid-drive.

Again, thank you all. I sincerely appreciate your help.
It's time for some test rides😍 Good luck, and then the really hard questions start .... what color ...what accessories ... how much ...?