First e-bike commuter; some trails

Tom Murphy

New Member
I am astounded by the explosion of e-bikes now available, and would appreciate pointers for which bikes I might focus attention on.

I bike-commuted for 10 years then gave up when I moved to a city 7-10 miles from work, with hills, route challenges, and no shower (or time for one) at work end. An e-bike may get me back in the game (no sweat!).

I have about 600 feet of elevation gain/loss on the ride (little net; < 5% grades). I can avoid dangerous routes by taking a longer (10 mile) route half of which is on single track dirt (hard packed, mostly tame). I am tall (6'4", 36" inseam, 175 lb) and prefer pedal assist/shifting to letting the bike do all/most of the work. I just need to take the edge off so I arrive dry (not a naturally heavy sweater, in dry environment, so not impossible). I have some sticker shock, but would entertain spending up to $4k (gulp) if that must be the way of things to get quality, durability, good interface, etc. I would prefer not to have to charge at work, so 20 mile range desirable. Regen sounds nice, but practically it may not amount to much performance difference for my parameters (I am likely to pedal down hills preferring speed to extra charge I may not need/use). Lots of time on mountain bike (technical and 5000 ft gain type) and commuter bike, so probably prefer somewhat aerodynamic posture to cruiser style. Nice if I can carry bike up stairs once at work, so minimizing weight is a plus. What else? Please ask if questions...
 
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George S.

Well-Known Member
Twenty miles for a reasonably fit rider, with no hills over 5%, should be very easy. Since you have a budget you can do some test rides to narrow down what really works. Try to find something you really like.
 

Lyn

New Member
I am liking my Specialised Turbo -- it handles really well. I have a 28km roundtrip (17 miles), on paved road, hilly (esp. on the return trip). I have a top-up charger at the office, but I don't need it unless I take an add-on trip. I used to be a keen cyclist back in the day and find the bike responsive and a lot of fun to ride. I'm in New Zealand and we don't have a huge selection here, but I'd certainly recommend it, as long as the larger size fits you (I use a medium).
 

JoePah

Well-Known Member
Tom you sound like a real biker. Just don't understand your no sweat desire with your need to carry a 60 lb bike up e stairs.....

Those $4000 ebikes have the same qualty components you'd find on a $1000 regular bike.

If your old bike is still something you'd still ride try a bike kit. It will add 16lbs to your bike, or less. There are a lot of good ones out there. You would need much help. Like. 48v 750 watt geared motor, 48v11ah battery, and a pedal assist.
 

Tom Murphy

New Member
I am liking my Specialised Turbo -- it handles really well. I have a 28km roundtrip (17 miles), on paved road, hilly (esp. on the return trip). I have a top-up charger at the office, but I don't need it unless I take an add-on trip. I used to be a keen cyclist back in the day and find the bike responsive and a lot of fun to ride. I'm in New Zealand and we don't have a huge selection here, but I'd certainly recommend it, as long as the larger size fits you (I use a medium).

Hi Lyn. This one had indeed caught my eye and is a real contender. Do you think it would handle a bit of trail well? Full sticker shock for this one, but it seems to be great quality.
 

Tom Murphy

New Member
Tom you sound like a real biker. Just don't understand your no sweat desire with your need to carry a 60 lb bike up e stairs.....

Those $4000 ebikes have the same qualty components you'd find on a $1000 regular bike.

If your old bike is still something you'd still ride try a bike kit. It will add 16lbs to your bike, or less. There are a lot of good ones out there. You would need much help. Like. 48v 750 watt geared motor, 48v11ah battery, and a pedal assist.

I should at least see what's involved. My two bikes are 23 and 19 years old, and not in tip-top shape. The (older) mountain bike is more likely the one I would transform, since the Cannondale road/commuter bike is not liklely the best choice for some trail work (would want to change rims, tires, handlebars, shifters, etc.). I got the MB at age 22 on a budget: solid/valued performer, but maybe better for me to start new for the e-bike.
 

George S.

Well-Known Member
A casual (no sweat) sort of rider probably exerts 100 watts. As you get above 200 watts, people breathe hard and start to sweat. But, almost every bike in the US has 350 watts. So if you combine your 100 watts of casual pedaling with 350 watts of power, you get an idea of what the motor does.

You can play with a bike computer, like this, to get speeds, grades, headwinds, etc, and the watts required.

http://bikecalculator.com/how.html
 

Tom Murphy

New Member
A casual (no sweat) sort of rider probably exerts 100 watts. As you get above 200 watts, people breathe hard and start to sweat. But, almost every bike in the US has 350 watts. So if you combine your 100 watts of casual pedaling with 350 watts of power, you get an idea of what the motor does.

You can play with a bike computer, like this, to get speeds, grades, headwinds, etc, and the watts required.

http://bikecalculator.com/how.html

George: that's awesome! How did you know that "watt' is my favorite unit? (Everyone should have a favorite unit.) And I agree. I tend to maintain something in the 200-250 W range in normal riding, and figure if I could knock that down to 100 W it will be a "walk in the park," "no sweat," and related cliches.
 

George S.

Well-Known Member
Yeah, watts is the only way to tie it all together. Then you know how hard the cyclist is working, the motor output, the battery output, etc. My gripe is that they don't put the watts and accumulated watt hours on most bike displays. People don't really need it, but it makes it easy to understand everything. I'm sure you'll find something that works.
 

Lyn

New Member
Hi Lyn. This one had indeed caught my eye and is a real contender. Do you think it would handle a bit of trail well? Full sticker shock for this one, but it seems to be great quality.
Hi, Tom. I think it would do fine on non-technical trails; I've used it a bit for gravel roads.
It is pretty heavy, though, so carrying it up the stairs might be a problem.
 

Tom Murphy

New Member
I scouted my intended route over the weekend on a hardy mountain bike. While some of the dirt track is easy/smooth, there are some pretty hairy sections (large gravel beds, steep rooty/rocky slopes, a couple stream crossings) that I would not want to do daily on an urban-leaning bike (sorry Specialized Turbo). This shifts me from "trail-tolerant urban bike" to "urban-tolerant mountain bike." Now I know. Some of the more challenging bits ask for a lot of torque (low speed, steep, technical). I love that kind of riding, and don't flinch at the challenge of self-power when it's recreational. On a commute I want the e-bike to do the sweating instead of me. So I am now leaning heavily toward mid-drive for the low-speed torque delivery.

I also test-drove a 19-inch IZIP E3 and found the frame to be too small for my long legs, even with seat at max extension. Looking at mid-drive mountain bikes over 21 inches leaves me with a small pool at prices I can (gulp) afford. Haibike RX 29, Focus Jarifa Impulse 27R, and Felt Nine are the <$5k contenders, in order of cost. The RX 29 is looking like my best bet. I would surely appreciate pointing out any missed models, or feedback on these bikes.
 

MLB

Well-Known Member
If doing single track you want full suspension ideally, though a thud buster or other seat option will help with front suspension only bikes.
Haibikes are expensive but very very nice. Everything on the bike is top notch.
They have a model for 16 that is 2,500 though it's probably a hardtail, that's a lot of bike.
After getting used to an FS RX 27.5 that I bought for offroad, I use it on the street too. Suspension is VERY cool and VERY VERY comfortable. ;)
 

PJungnitsch

Member
A mid drive fatty would do you, I think. A Juggernaut with the big battery would be way under the prices you are looking at, and those big tires are magic on gravel.
 

Lyn

New Member
Yes, I think you're right that the Specialized Turbo is not the right bike for this commute. Good luck!
 

NoDTMF

Active Member
I have the roughly the same commute as the OP, except a very steep gravel hill. I opted for a mid-drive hard tail. I added a rack and carry my computer in pannier mounted on the rack. I got a seat suspension post (Thudbuster), to accommodate for the hardtail, it works pretty well. My wheels are 27.5 with off road tires. My commute is fifty fifty asphalt/gravel. Its much better having off road tires on the road than the other way around, I think. I appreciate the traction on lose gravel and using the bike off road on weekends. My bike weighs ~42lbs and lugging up the stairs is not fun, then I found the elevator :) Anyway, if stairs are part of your commute then stay light, especially if you add accessories to the bike. My bike is mid-drive, and I like it, though I haven't a hub e-bike. I can ride the hot California weather and not sweat on the way do work, which is mostly down hill. going home I use the ride more as a workout, less assist, so I can get sweaty. I typically ride 3 rides before charging, (the drive system is Bosch active line) thats 45 miles and the battery is little less than 1/2.