First ebike: Getting off my Hipster High Horse

jkhaha

New Member
Region
USA
Hi everyone. Like so many of you, I’ve been obsessively researching ebikes. It sucks there are so few actual reviews out there. Too many dudes on YouTube (well, many of them) just talk up the specs. They say “review” but they’re more like overviews. It's kinda hard to actually get critical info on these ebikes. I sorta want more opinionated people reviewing the bikes. I need y’all’s opinions, thoughts, and expertise.

Truly I want the Specialized Vados and Creos, but they’re too expensive! As they say, “You have caviar tastes on a tuna fish budget.” I saw another commenter post that.

What it’ll be used for:
  1. Short commute to work.
  2. Recreation/longer rides on the weekends.
  3. Rides with my family.
What it’d love in an ebike:
  1. Sub $2500 price
  2. Hipster/fixie look - though I love drop handlebars. I like the positioning on drop bars.
  3. Decent range - though I’d prolly be fine with 40 miles minimum range.
  4. Level 3 is a plus
  5. Gears - I want to be able to shift.
  6. Personally, I don’t want/need a throttle system, just pedal assist.
The bikes I’m looking at don’t really match my desires mostly cause I’m not made of money, but maybe y’all have some knowledge, thoughts, and opinions. I’m totally good to get off my hipster high horse. I’m currently looking at the following ebikes:

1. Aventon Level
Pros: The price. Level 3 ebike. Decent parts. Decent Range. My LBS supports Aventon bikes.
Cons: I don’t love the look. It doesn’t have the slim look I prefer. Heavy and difficult to put in a car (I don’t have an SUV or truck).

2. Aventon Pace 500
Pros: Best price. Local Bike shop supports them. Okay range. Better looking than the Level IMO.
Cons: More relaxed ride. Smaller battery.

3. Radrunner Plus
Pros: good price. Tons of attachments. Pretty cool looking. Seems kinda future-proof family-wise.
Cons: Really heavy. Only goes 20mph (though I think you can undo the limit somehow).

Alternatives: The Hilltopper Discover, iGo Aspire Camillien, and Story e-road bike look like great options but there aren’t enough reviews out there for me to really judge them. Also, they only go to 20mph (except the iGo). Espin and Ride1Up also offer great alternatives (they look better too) but I like that my LBS supports Aventon and Rad. The R1U Roadster looks great but it has no gears and no disk breaks. Part of me wonders if I should wait a year and see what the ebike landscape looks like then. I feel like the R1U Roadster is on the right track, but maybe I'm biting too early. Oh and the Vanmoff Blah blah (did I mention hipster?). I could go on, but it’s time I stopped.

So yeah. I'm wondering what you all think. Should I just go for the Level and call it good? I'd probably save myself some time. Do you have other suggestions or thoughts on those other bikes?

Thank y’all in advance.
 

Dewey

Well-Known Member
Like this? (Class 3, 28mph, drop handlebars) https://electricbikereview.com/igo-electric/aspire-camillien/
Or this? (Class 1, 20mph, mid-drive offers more torque for hill climbing) https://electricbikereview.com/yamaha/cross-core/

If you prefer the support of your local shop and are deciding between Aventon and Rad I'd suggest test riding as much as you can. RadRunner can be unlocked with a Bolton kit but you will invalidate your warranty. If you want gears the RadRunner Plus model has them but I'd stick with the single speed if you're adding the Bolton controller. I've read the RadRunner saddle is uncomfortable when pedalling and I understand you need to replace both the seatpost as well as the saddle. You're looking at either a bicycle or a moped style ebike, if you're keen on pedalling and live in a relatively flat area I'd give the iGo Aspire Camillien a try and use the app to make it a Class 3, it has the features you want and is 25lb lighter than the RadRunner. If you live in a hilly area I'd go with the Yamaha Cross Core that would be better for hill climbing.
 
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Mike_V

Active Member
I believe you're limited by this requirement:
"Heavy and difficult to put in a car (I don’t have an SUV or truck)"
Yes, so regardless of performance:
the eBike must be slim, light, and not too long
 

Luto

Active Member
A lot depends on how much you will use it. Sounds like a utility bike. So I would not over think, or spend on it. Just get something that works and will not cause a maintenance headache. With the extra money you can add cool bags, baskets, seats etc. It looks pretty hip. The higher end bikes are more for performance oriented folks, and the truth is (for these people) once you know how to ride and are in reasonable shape, e-bikes are not needed with the advances in regular bikes, geometry, tires, gears.
 

Tom@WashDC

Active Member
Region
USA
City
Loudoun County, VA
Jkhaha - I purchased two Aventon Levels' in September of 2020, so that my wife and I could ride together. I did a lot of research and it came down to three manufacturers/models. The Aventon Level, The Rad Rover Fat Bike by Rad Power Bikes, and the Ride 1UP LMT'D. All three seem to be pretty good, and had good reviews. There is only so much you can know from reviews and research if you haven't owned an e-bike. Once you own a bike you will realize that most of your preconceived ideas and notions developed while researching will probably go out the window.

The most influential factors for me between the three models were looks/styling, battery charge time, top speed, range, and how fast I could get it delivered (winter was closing in). I chose the Level because they could deliver it in two weeks. It turned out to be an excellent choice, and it exceeded all of my expectations. It looks beautiful in real life and I get a lot of compliments on the paint job and styling. It is fast, easily goes 28 mph on PAS-5, and it seems virtually maintenance free. I've dealt with Aventon on a warranty issue and they were very responsive and quickly made me whole.

But... After riding for two months, I realized I longed to ride aggressively, and I wanted to peel off the paved trails and roads, and rip up and down the huge hills and grassy embankments in my area, and venture into the woods over hill and dale, off the beaten path. I wanted more freedom and adventure. Alas, my Aventon was not built for the type of riding that I wanted to do without my lovely, but docile wife in tow. In retrospect, neither is the Rad Rover (due to it's rear drive).

So in December I built my own bike. A Fat Bike powered by the Luna Cycle Bafang BBSHD 1600 Watt Hot Rod mid-drive motor. It is a very powerful bike that is programmable. I can climb a 45-50 degree wooded, grassy, or paved slope with no problem. I can traverse large creeks, mud, snow, sand, fields, woods, and where there is no trail. I can cruise at 30-40 MPH, which is way to fast and I don't do that at all. I tried it once or twice. I've adjusted the speed limit to 25mph because I do not want to die on the road. I bought some elbow pads because I SHALL WIPE OUT now and then. Being 62 years young, I need to be able to affirmatively break my fall with my forearm..

Building my own powerful e-bike has made me very appreciate of the quality engineering of my Aventon Level. It is well thought out, has quality parts, that are easily sourced, packs a punch, and is very reliable. Also it is easily ridden by other members of my family and a few guests.


On Speed: Yes, I purchased the Level because it could go 28MPH under PAS. I could care less now. Climbing power is what matters to me most, even in the city and on paved trails. My average ride speed is about 17mph. If you ride on the street with traffic, 28mph is an asset in my opinion, but I judge it to be too fast with out heavy duty safety gear if you consistently ride that fast on the road. Cars are your enemy, and the majority of drivers do not see you. I use the top speed to get off the main road as quickly as possible whenever I can.
On fast charging time: Insignificant to me now. Buy a smart charger from Luna Cycle and charge your battery slowly and mostly to 80% capacity. Since money is a concern for you, it could double or triple the life of your $400 battery.
On range: Still pretty important to me, but I rarely ride in a style that utilizes the maximum range. I usually do 20 miles per day and exhaust my battery in the process. Range is good.
On looks and styling: Don't be silly :)... fuggedaboutit... it's all about power, reliability, and serviceable parts.

Good luck in your search. Buy an E-bike. You will probably love it. If you love it, sooner or later you will get the bug to get a "better" bike, whatever you conceive that to be. You'll either sell your first bike, or keep it in your stable for a family member.

One last thing. On my Fat Bike Hot Rod, I wish it were a step-thru.

Tom

"Damn things are addictive !" ~ Jangles
 
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AHicks

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Snow Bird - Summer S.E. Michigan, Winter Gulf Coast North Central Fl.
Have a look here. Yes, though they don't say, it'll crack 30mph pretty easily. The bike has the most power available today, and comes with a battery big enough for some hard play. Take you pick on tire width. If you would prefer a fatty, have a look at the RX Pro. It's the fatty version of the same bike. Uses all good or better quality, non proprietary hardware, so you can install stuff you like (handlebars for example) easily and inexpensively. If you are shopping on a bucks spent for bang received, these bikes are going to be tough to beat....


Noteworthy too maybe, is there is a REAL 750w gear driven rear hub available in a similar bike as well....

Yes, addictive for sure! -Al
 
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Tom@WashDC

Active Member
Region
USA
City
Loudoun County, VA
Have a look here. Yes, though they don't say, it'll crack 30mph pretty easily. The bike has the most power available today, and comes with a battery big enough for some hard play. Take you pick on tire width. If you would prefer a fatty, have a look at the RX Pro. It's the fatty version of the same bike. Uses all good or better quality, non proprietary hardware, so you can install stuff you like (handlebars for example) easily and inexpensively. If you are shopping on a bucks spent for bang received, these bikes are going to be tough to beat....


Noteworthy too maybe, is there is a REAL 750w gear driven rear hub available in a similar bike as well....

Yes, addictive for sure! -Al
Looks like good value for the money. I like that they include the Suntour suspension seat post. I added that to my Level and my Fat Bike build.
 

EMGX

Well-Known Member
Hi everyone. Like so many of you, I’ve been obsessively researching ebikes. It sucks there are so few actual reviews out there. Too many dudes on YouTube (well, many of them) just talk up the specs. They say “review” but they’re more like overviews. It's kinda hard to actually get critical info on these ebikes. I sorta want more opinionated people reviewing the bikes. I need y’all’s opinions, thoughts, and expertise.

Truly I want the Specialized Vados and Creos, but they’re too expensive! As they say, “You have caviar tastes on a tuna fish budget.” I saw another commenter post that.

What it’ll be used for:
  1. Short commute to work.
  2. Recreation/longer rides on the weekends.
  3. Rides with my family.
What it’d love in an ebike:
  1. Sub $2500 price
  2. Hipster/fixie look - though I love drop handlebars. I like the positioning on drop bars.
  3. Decent range - though I’d prolly be fine with 40 miles minimum range.
  4. Level 3 is a plus
  5. Gears - I want to be able to shift.
  6. Personally, I don’t want/need a throttle system, just pedal assist.
The bikes I’m looking at don’t really match my desires mostly cause I’m not made of money, but maybe y’all have some knowledge, thoughts, and opinions. I’m totally good to get off my hipster high horse. I’m currently looking at the following ebikes:

1. Aventon Level
Pros: The price. Level 3 ebike. Decent parts. Decent Range. My LBS supports Aventon bikes.
Cons: I don’t love the look. It doesn’t have the slim look I prefer. Heavy and difficult to put in a car (I don’t have an SUV or truck).

2. Aventon Pace 500
Pros: Best price. Local Bike shop supports them. Okay range. Better looking than the Level IMO.
Cons: More relaxed ride. Smaller battery.

3. Radrunner Plus
Pros: good price. Tons of attachments. Pretty cool looking. Seems kinda future-proof family-wise.
Cons: Really heavy. Only goes 20mph (though I think you can undo the limit somehow).

Alternatives: The Hilltopper Discover, iGo Aspire Camillien, and Story e-road bike look like great options but there aren’t enough reviews out there for me to really judge them. Also, they only go to 20mph (except the iGo). Espin and Ride1Up also offer great alternatives (they look better too) but I like that my LBS supports Aventon and Rad. The R1U Roadster looks great but it has no gears and no disk breaks. Part of me wonders if I should wait a year and see what the ebike landscape looks like then. I feel like the R1U Roadster is on the right track, but maybe I'm biting too early. Oh and the Vanmoff Blah blah (did I mention hipster?). I could go on, but it’s time I stopped.

So yeah. I'm wondering what you all think. Should I just go for the Level and call it good? I'd probably save myself some time. Do you have other suggestions or thoughts on those other bikes?

Thank y’all in advance.
You might want to keep in mind that many here are senior citizens (including me) and our opinions might not match yours.
A lot of people minimize ebike weight by reasoning that weight doesn't matter when riding an electric assist bike so they get a bike loaded up with heavy suspension forks/seat posts/fat inefficient tires and the like. I like to keep my ebike riding experience as close to that of riding a regular bike as reasonably possible so to me weight is very important. Battery range is more of an issue if you have to use assist more. I try to ride on the lowest assist comfortable, off when possible, but I don't hesitate to use the higher settings on hills, or into a wind, or when I'm tired, or just when I want to - so range, even with a low capacity 400w battery, can be impressive. Even on hilly routes I can often ride 60+ miles on a charge. If you already have a bike try weighing it. If it weighs 30# try adding another 35# and other stuff you would normally carry like a lock, water, spare tube or whatever, then ride it around and lift it into your car or up stairs and change a tire, weight matters. Low 40's# seems to be about as low as you can get for less expensive bikes. I think when I weighed mine, bike alone (including battery) it was 40-41# which is manageable, thinner 32c 100+psi tires also made a big difference in this bike's rideability. 65# bike, not interested.
Before my current Yamaha powered gravel bike I hadn't had a drop bar bike since I was a teen. I was sort of surprised that it was more comfortable than I expected, usually on the brake hoods but also down on the drops when pulling steep hills and trying to get a workout (or pretending that it is really just me grinding up the hills), more hand positions than a flat bar.
I also like the dual chainring that is used on Yamaha bikes, I'm usually on the small chainring but frequently use the large one on downhill runs.

Are you a Portland area hipster? If so then you probably know there are some great areas to ride close by like into the gorge. In another month or two spring should be in full bloom here, can't wait, especially now when we are in a typical NW drizzly weather pattern.

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jkhaha

New Member
Region
USA
Have a look here. Yes, though they don't say, it'll crack 30mph pretty easily. The bike has the most power available today, and comes with a battery big enough for some hard play. Take you pick on tire width. If you would prefer a fatty, have a look at the RX Pro. It's the fatty version of the same bike. Uses all good or better quality, non proprietary hardware, so you can install stuff you like (handlebars for example) easily and inexpensively. If you are shopping on a bucks spent for bang received, these bikes are going to be tough to beat....


Noteworthy too maybe, is there is a REAL 750w gear driven rear hub available in a similar bike as well....

Yes, addictive for sure! -Al
This bike looks awesome! My only worry is that I’ve heard/read that Rize has been a difficult company to work with if something goes wrong on your bike. Do you know anything about this? I like that if the aventon breaks down, I’ll know exactly where to bring it.
 

jkhaha

New Member
Region
USA
You might want to keep in mind that many here are senior citizens (including me) and our opinions might not match yours.
A lot of people minimize ebike weight by reasoning that weight doesn't matter when riding an electric assist bike so they get a bike loaded up with heavy suspension forks/seat posts/fat inefficient tires and the like. I like to keep my ebike riding experience as close to that of riding a regular bike as reasonably possible so to me weight is very important. Battery range is more of an issue if you have to use assist more. I try to ride on the lowest assist comfortable, off when possible, but I don't hesitate to use the higher settings on hills, or into a wind, or when I'm tired, or just when I want to - so range, even with a low capacity 400w battery, can be impressive. Even on hilly routes I can often ride 60+ miles on a charge. If you already have a bike try weighing it. If it weighs 30# try adding another 35# and other stuff you would normally carry like a lock, water, spare tube or whatever, then ride it around and lift it into your car or up stairs and change a tire, weight matters. Low 40's# seems to be about as low as you can get for less expensive bikes. I think when I weighed mine, bike alone (including battery) it was 40-41# which is manageable, thinner 32c 100+psi tires also made a big difference in this bike's rideability. 65# bike, not interested.
Before my current Yamaha powered gravel bike I hadn't had a drop bar bike since I was a teen. I was sort of surprised that it was more comfortable than I expected, usually on the brake hoods but also down on the drops when pulling steep hills and trying to get a workout (or pretending that it is really just me grinding up the hills), more hand positions than a flat bar.
I also like the dual chainring that is used on Yamaha bikes, I'm usually on the small chainring but frequently use the large one on downhill runs.

Are you a Portland area hipster? If so then you probably know there are some great areas to ride close by like into the gorge. In another month or two spring should be in full bloom here, can't wait, especially now when we are in a typical NW drizzly weather pattern.

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I used to live in Portland. I loved it and miss it. I’m now in Texas. A lot flatter here.

What kind of bike do you take on your long rides? I personally love to take long rides and I have a good bike for it already. But that’s also been what has driven my interest in the Specialized bikes with their awesome range and natural bike feel.

I test road a pedego bike today with a cadence sensor and a 500w motor. It was way too heavy and I don’t love the way the motor made me feel more like I was on a weak moped than an awesome electric bike.
 

AHicks

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Snow Bird - Summer S.E. Michigan, Winter Gulf Coast North Central Fl.
This bike looks awesome! My only worry is that I’ve heard/read that Rize has been a difficult company to work with if something goes wrong on your bike. Do you know anything about this? I like that if the aventon breaks down, I’ll know exactly where to bring it.

If you are the type that wants to depend on a shop for your service needs, you may not be cut out for consumer direct bikes. I get that, but you didn't mention that in your note. Folks do that for a LOT of reasons.

Otherwise Rize is not difficult to deal with in my experience, no more so than any of the others anyway. There was a jerk that tried to present them in an unfavorable light because he was clueless regarding the brakes on his bike, and refused to listen to those trying to help.....

Last, if you are thinking of going through a dealer, but the consumer direct bikes appeal to you, there are mobile services in many areas you might want to get in touch with. They are growing in popularity every day. Check out velofix.com They're a national franchise and generally have a very good reputation. Good hunting! -Al
 

jkhaha

New Member
Region
USA
If you are the type that wants to depend on a shop for your service needs, you may not be cut out for consumer direct bikes. I get that, but you didn't mention that in your note. Folks do that for a LOT of reasons.

Otherwise Rize is not difficult to deal with in my experience, no more so than any of the others anyway. There was a jerk that tried to present them in an unfavorable light because he was clueless regarding the brakes on his bike, and refused to listen to those trying to help.....

Last, if you are thinking of going through a dealer, but the consumer direct bikes appeal to you, there are mobile services in many areas you might want to get in touch with. They are growing in popularity every day. Check out velofix.com They're a national franchise and generally have a very good reputation. Good hunting! -Al

I’ve worked on regular bikes but have been a little wary of getting into motors. However, if you find that Rize has been good to work with, that’s awesome. The Rize RX really takes the cake in its awesome specs. Also the YouTube rides on it look fantastically fast. 19ah seems super rad for those long distance rides too.
 

jkhaha

New Member
Region
USA
I could have been of whom you speak. Luna hates their customers. Or maybe they just despise humanity in general. This is widely known.

I feel like there is a slight trend from the bike companies in that regard. I’ve seen frustration with Rize, Luna, iGo, and Vanmoof. I wonder if the bike companies are just swamped with so much business that keeping up with costumer support has been a challenge.
 

drewberz

Active Member
the Luna looks sweet. One Youtuber was pretty hardcore that the Luna company was awful to work with. Do you have any thoughts on that?
No I can't speak to it, never ridden it. But the build itself makes sense. And it's in stock (per the site) when a lot of bikes are deeply backordered.

It is a direct purchase so expect to do some of your own work or set aside money for a velofix or a local bike shop (if you are really friendly with one, some won't work on direct purchase e-bikes) for maintenance.
 

drewberz

Active Member
I feel like there is a slight trend from the bike companies in that regard. I’ve seen frustration with Rize, Luna, iGo, and Vanmoof. I wonder if the bike companies are just swamped with so much business that keeping up with costumer support has been a challenge.
There may be frustrations with those companies for various reasons, but Eric who heads Luna is a polarizing figure. Watch some of their videos and you may get the vibe I am referring to. Or better, just ask them questions about their bikes in their chat.