Going in Circles My E-bike Experience So Far

Chancelucky2

Active Member
In 2018, my assortment of 3 conventional bikes had mostly hung in my garage other than occasional outings of about 12 miles on my hard-tailed mountain bike. 2 of the bikes were 30 years old; I was keeping them around for purely sentimental reasons. All my bikes needed maintenance. My love of gadgets got me fascinated by e-bikes. I finally got to rent a Pedego when we were in in San Diego for a few days and went 30 miles and climbed a fairly big hill at Torrey Pines State Park a couple times. I was hoooked, except for the fact that I didn't necessarily want a Pedego: it wasn't just heavy it was back heavy and even I knew that 35 miles of range might not be enough. I happened upon an e-bay posting for a new BMW e-bike which also just happened to be from the BMW dealer two miles from my house. It was 50 pounds, had a range of 50 miles, was mid-drive Bosch, and was a lot less than the Pedego. I started riding most every day. My mother was dying at the time so instead of driving to her assisted living facility, I would ride the bike, visit, then take some long detour home. Those rides were terrifically therapeutic. On at least one occasion, my 3 mile trip to see Mom turned into a 40 mile ride.

In 2019, I started longing to do some longer tours on my e-bike. The problem was that a 50 mile range is really closer to 40 miles for various reasons and a second Bosch battery was going to be almost two thirds the cost of the bike. In addition, the BMW e-bike looked nice, but it had no rack mounts. I started hanging out here more as I looked for solutions. I came to the conclusion that I would need a different e-bike and a second battery. I was leaning towards the Trek Crossrip +, but it was simply going to be too much money. Serendipitously in March 2020, another member here who lived about 100 miles away posted to sell his Crossrip + with 2 batteries at a very attractive price. I sold the BMW with 1400 miles on it at too low a price (wife refuse to let me keep 5 bikes in the garage) and bought the Crossrip, but there was one issue keeping me from doing a tour: Covid had started. I figured give it a few months and things would be back to normal. I now had the bike and batteries that would let me do a 100 mile day. It even came with a rack. The only problem was that bathrooms, water, places to stay were all going to be iffy. In the meantime, I rode the local bike trails/routes everyday. I noticed that my 20 miles rides on the BMW routinely became 30 mile rides on the Trek. The Trek was about 7 pounds lighter than the BMW and had lower gearing a 42 tooth gear in the back, so I found myself doing bigger portions of my rides without power.

At this point, the saga takes a curious turn. While there are lots of places to ride where I live, doing the same rides constantly can get a little old. I found that if I did the same ride on a different bicycle, it made the same topography feel different, so I began alternating e-bike rides with shorter conventional bike rides. My road bike, a 1987 Bianchi Campione D'Italia, had 80's gearing 52x42 with 11x24 in the back. There was a reason I was dreading hills on that bike. I spent the money to drop the gearing to 48x34 14x28. fwiw, dropping the gearing had many of the benefits of going to an E-bike without the jump in speed. My conventional bike rides got more frequent and thanks to both the new gearing and my improved conditioning from the e-bike riding, they got a lot longer. I got a front derailleur problem with my mountain bike fixed (finding the right bike shop turned out to be the difference) and I did a full restore of my 1986 Univega touring bike. I went from doing one out of four rides on my conventional bike to one out of five local rides on my e-bike. My normal conventional ride is now about 25-30 miles.

When I first got the BMW e-bike, I thought I would eventually get rid of my conventional bikes. As it turned out, the e-bike led me back to traditional biking. I still love the e-bike, but currently reserve it for longer more adventurous rides. For instance, I'll use it to explore more or when we're up in the mountains. I also like it for "rest days" and those times when I ride with someone younger/stronger. I see the e-bike vs. conventional bikes as closely related but distinct activities. It's a bit like having a Mercedes and an old MG in your garage. One is heavier, more powerful, and more indifferent to changes in terrain or speed. As a baby boomer, I also find pleasure in feeling like I'm riding around on some futuristic device. With the other, much of the pleasure comes from feeling the limits of what you can do and pushing them. There's also a sort of satisfaction that comes from not being helped by a motor and riding around on tech that hasn't changed much in 100 years. As I get older, I suspect the ratio of e-bike rides to conventional rides will swing the other way again. In the meantime, I like having a foot in both bicycle worlds and when I get my second COVID shot, I'll finally be doing my longer tour on the E-bike.
 

harryS

Well-Known Member
Talk about circles. Last year I rode 3300 miles and never got further than 10 miles from home. In 2018, my wife said she felt sorry for me riding around in circles seeing the same old sights, so we took our ebikes to Colorado where we got to see mountains and ride in between them. We took our bikes to Florida at Xmastime in 2018 and 2019. Got to see sandy beaches and Santa's. Stayed home all last year.

Last year, my wife joined me for 2400 miles of circles. Fortunately, we have woods/water and some ability to juggle our routes. We talk about getting the Covid shots and going on a big road trip West this summer, packing bikes. Retired since 2001, probably not going to get another window to do it.

As far as bikes, I wish I had done more, but only 100 miles was on my non electric hybrid, The bulk of my miles are on a 20" skinny tire folder, since my wife likes her folder so much. Solo, I take out a 26" mountain bike conversion most of the time.
 

reed scott

Well-Known Member
In 2018, my assortment of 3 conventional bikes had mostly hung in my garage other than occasional outings of about 12 miles on my hard-tailed mountain bike. 2 of the bikes were 30 years old; I was keeping them around for purely sentimental reasons. All my bikes needed maintenance. My love of gadgets got me fascinated by e-bikes. I finally got to rent a Pedego when we were in in San Diego for a few days and went 30 miles and climbed a fairly big hill at Torrey Pines State Park a couple times. I was hoooked, except for the fact that I didn't necessarily want a Pedego: it wasn't just heavy it was back heavy and even I knew that 35 miles of range might not be enough. I happened upon an e-bay posting for a new BMW e-bike which also just happened to be from the BMW dealer two miles from my house. It was 50 pounds, had a range of 50 miles, was mid-drive Bosch, and was a lot less than the Pedego. I started riding most every day. My mother was dying at the time so instead of driving to her assisted living facility, I would ride the bike, visit, then take some long detour home. Those rides were terrifically therapeutic. On at least one occasion, my 3 mile trip to see Mom turned into a 40 mile ride.

In 2019, I started longing to do some longer tours on my e-bike. The problem was that a 50 mile range is really closer to 40 miles for various reasons and a second Bosch battery was going to be almost two thirds the cost of the bike. In addition, the BMW e-bike looked nice, but it had no rack mounts. I started hanging out here more as I looked for solutions. I came to the conclusion that I would need a different e-bike and a second battery. I was leaning towards the Trek Crossrip +, but it was simply going to be too much money. Serendipitously in March 2020, another member here who lived about 100 miles away posted to sell his Crossrip + with 2 batteries at a very attractive price. I sold the BMW with 1400 miles on it at too low a price (wife refuse to let me keep 5 bikes in the garage) and bought the Crossrip, but there was one issue keeping me from doing a tour: Covid had started. I figured give it a few months and things would be back to normal. I now had the bike and batteries that would let me do a 100 mile day. It even came with a rack. The only problem was that bathrooms, water, places to stay were all going to be iffy. In the meantime, I rode the local bike trails/routes everyday. I noticed that my 20 miles rides on the BMW routinely became 30 mile rides on the Trek. The Trek was about 7 pounds lighter than the BMW and had lower gearing a 42 tooth gear in the back, so I found myself doing bigger portions of my rides without power.

At this point, the saga takes a curious turn. While there are lots of places to ride where I live, doing the same rides constantly can get a little old. I found that if I did the same ride on a different bicycle, it made the same topography feel different, so I began alternating e-bike rides with shorter conventional bike rides. My road bike, a 1987 Bianchi Campione D'Italia, had 80's gearing 52x42 with 11x24 in the back. There was a reason I was dreading hills on that bike. I spent the money to drop the gearing to 48x34 14x28. fwiw, dropping the gearing had many of the benefits of going to an E-bike without the jump in speed. My conventional bike rides got more frequent and thanks to both the new gearing and my improved conditioning from the e-bike riding, they got a lot longer. I got a front derailleur problem with my mountain bike fixed (finding the right bike shop turned out to be the difference) and I did a full restore of my 1986 Univega touring bike. I went from doing one out of four rides on my conventional bike to one out of five local rides on my e-bike. My normal conventional ride is now about 25-30 miles.

When I first got the BMW e-bike, I thought I would eventually get rid of my conventional bikes. As it turned out, the e-bike led me back to traditional biking. I still love the e-bike, but currently reserve it for longer more adventurous rides. For instance, I'll use it to explore more or when we're up in the mountains. I also like it for "rest days" and those times when I ride with someone younger/stronger. I see the e-bike vs. conventional bikes as closely related but distinct activities. It's a bit like having a Mercedes and an old MG in your garage. One is heavier, more powerful, and more indifferent to changes in terrain or speed. As a baby boomer, I also find pleasure in feeling like I'm riding around on some futuristic device. With the other, much of the pleasure comes from feeling the limits of what you can do and pushing them. There's also a sort of satisfaction that comes from not being helped by a motor and riding around on tech that hasn't changed much in 100 years. As I get older, I suspect the ratio of e-bike rides to conventional rides will swing the other way again. In the meantime, I like having a foot in both bicycle worlds and when I get my second COVID shot, I'll finally be doing my longer tour on the E-bike.
Great story. Personally related to much of it. Thank you. 👍 👍
 

indianajo

Well-Known Member
We may have similar goals. I ride my bike unpowered 85% of the time. I don't drive a car anymore, so lots of 8 mile shopping trips and 30 mile commutes twice a week in warm weather. But global warming has caused 20-30 mph winds to occur even in May, June, and September. 6 hours @ 4.5 mph into a headwind is not fun. So I carry a battery & a geared hubmotor, that acts like it is not there until I need it. BTW mine is on the front; I didn't like the motor on the back, too heavy especially with groceries. With front motor I can have an 8 speed rear spocket cluster, too, which is advantageous. My bike has 32:32 to 52:11 for all situations.
The 17.5 AH battery theoretically allows me to make 80 mile RT excursions to concerts or festivals in towns 40 mlles out. So far I haven't found a seat that is comfortable more than 2.5 hours. So those dreams are in the future. I don't expect to slow down as I get older than 70; my 98 year old friend that swims laps at the Y hasn't. Just bonier.
 

Chancelucky2

Active Member
We may have similar goals. I ride my bike unpowered 85% of the time. I don't drive a car anymore, so lots of 8 mile shopping trips and 30 mile commutes twice a week in warm weather. But global warming has caused 20-30 mph winds to occur even in May, June, and September. 6 hours @ 4.5 mph into a headwind is not fun. So I carry a battery & a geared hubmotor, that acts like it is not there until I need it. BTW mine is on the front; I didn't like the motor on the back, too heavy especially with groceries. With front motor I can have an 8 speed rear spocket cluster, too, which is advantageous. My bike has 32:32 to 52:11 for all situations.
The 17.5 AH battery theoretically allows me to make 80 mile RT excursions to concerts or festivals in towns 40 mlles out. So far I haven't found a seat that is comfortable more than 2.5 hours. So those dreams are in the future. I don't expect to slow down as I get older than 70; my 98 year old friend that swims laps at the Y hasn't. Just bonier.
Wow! I looked up 32x52 at a cadence of 90 rpm and it's 4.4 mph. I take it that's why you can climb pretty much anything with a very heavy load even with the power off.
 

EMGX

Well-Known Member
In 2019, I started longing to do some longer tours on my e-bike. The problem was that a 50 mile range is really closer to 40 miles for various reasons and a second Bosch battery was going to be almost two thirds the cost of the bike. In addition, the BMW e-bike looked nice, but it had no rack mounts. I started hanging out here more as I looked for solutions. I came to the conclusion that I would need a different e-bike and a second battery. I was leaning towards the Trek Crossrip +, but it was simply going to be too much money. Serendipitously in March 2020, another member here who lived about 100 miles away posted to sell his Crossrip + with 2 batteries at a very attractive price. I sold the BMW with 1400 miles on it at too low a price (wife refuse to let me keep 5 bikes in the garage) and bought the Crossrip, but there was one issue keeping me from doing a tour: Covid had started. I figured give it a few months and things would be back to normal. I now had the bike and batteries that would let me do a 100 mile day. It even came with a rack. The only problem was that bathrooms, water, places to stay were all going to be iffy.

Your Trek Crossrip looks to be similar to my BH Gravel X and weighs the same but the BH has a lower capacity 400w battery. I did a 3 day 175 mile tour with 8500ft elevation gain in eastern Oregon last fall. The longest day was day 1 at over 70 miles. I still had 30%+ battery left at the end of that day because I didn't use any assist for the first 40 miles. 2nd day was 40 miles into the wind much of the way, I don't remember how much battery was left. 3rd day was over 60 miles, that day I stopped at a day use portion of a state park and charged my battery then charged it again in a small town from a plug on the side of a closed city hall/police station while I took a break, there were other outlets in a small park. I might have been able to make the entire day on one charge but there was a miles long steep climb near the end and I didn't want to run out of battery and have to pedal that part without assist. Point is that you might not need two batteries even for a 100 mile day. Your bike has 25% more battery capacity and you won't likely need or want to ride with assist all of the time. I had the same concerns as you but it turned out to not be a problem at all even in remote eastern Oregon with many miles between the small towns. I don't want to spend $700 - $1000 for a spare battery but the major issue for me would be carrying the significant extra weight that an extra battery would entail, a 40+ pound bike is enough as it is.
I'm not in the early COVID vaccination groups but I don't plan on that stopping me. There is another eastern Oregon route that I want to do this May, vaccination or not.
FWIW I also did a 2 day 120 mile ride from Plummer ID to Wallace ID and back on a regular non-assist bike a week before doing the eastern OR ride on the BH. I would have enjoyed the ride much more with the BH. It wasn't a hilly route but heading east there was a steady mild grade and head wind so by the time I got to Wallace I was too tired to check out the area more as I had wanted.


I started at Bates State park, rode to Monument 1st day, 2nd day to Dayville, 3rd day back to Bates.

DSCF0748.JPG
 
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FlatSix911

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Silicon Valley
In 2018, my assortment of 3 conventional bikes had mostly hung in my garage other than occasional outings of about 12 miles on my hard-tailed mountain bike. 2 of the bikes were 30 years old; I was keeping them around for purely sentimental reasons. All my bikes needed maintenance. My love of gadgets got me fascinated by e-bikes. I finally got to rent a Pedego when we were in in San Diego for a few days and went 30 miles and climbed a fairly big hill at Torrey Pines State Park a couple times. I was hoooked, except for the fact that I didn't necessarily want a Pedego: it wasn't just heavy it was back heavy and even I knew that 35 miles of range might not be enough. I happened upon an e-bay posting for a new BMW e-bike which also just happened to be from the BMW dealer two miles from my house. It was 50 pounds, had a range of 50 miles, was mid-drive Bosch, and was a lot less than the Pedego. I started riding most every day. My mother was dying at the time so instead of driving to her assisted living facility, I would ride the bike, visit, then take some long detour home. Those rides were terrifically therapeutic. On at least one occasion, my 3 mile trip to see Mom turned into a 40 mile ride.

In 2019, I started longing to do some longer tours on my e-bike. The problem was that a 50 mile range is really closer to 40 miles for various reasons and a second Bosch battery was going to be almost two thirds the cost of the bike. In addition, the BMW e-bike looked nice, but it had no rack mounts. I started hanging out here more as I looked for solutions. I came to the conclusion that I would need a different e-bike and a second battery. I was leaning towards the Trek Crossrip +, but it was simply going to be too much money. Serendipitously in March 2020, another member here who lived about 100 miles away posted to sell his Crossrip + with 2 batteries at a very attractive price. I sold the BMW with 1400 miles on it at too low a price (wife refuse to let me keep 5 bikes in the garage) and bought the Crossrip, but there was one issue keeping me from doing a tour: Covid had started. I figured give it a few months and things would be back to normal. I now had the bike and batteries that would let me do a 100 mile day. It even came with a rack. The only problem was that bathrooms, water, places to stay were all going to be iffy. In the meantime, I rode the local bike trails/routes everyday. I noticed that my 20 miles rides on the BMW routinely became 30 mile rides on the Trek. The Trek was about 7 pounds lighter than the BMW and had lower gearing a 42 tooth gear in the back, so I found myself doing bigger portions of my rides without power.

At this point, the saga takes a curious turn. While there are lots of places to ride where I live, doing the same rides constantly can get a little old. I found that if I did the same ride on a different bicycle, it made the same topography feel different, so I began alternating e-bike rides with shorter conventional bike rides. My road bike, a 1987 Bianchi Campione D'Italia, had 80's gearing 52x42 with 11x24 in the back. There was a reason I was dreading hills on that bike. I spent the money to drop the gearing to 48x34 14x28. fwiw, dropping the gearing had many of the benefits of going to an E-bike without the jump in speed. My conventional bike rides got more frequent and thanks to both the new gearing and my improved conditioning from the e-bike riding, they got a lot longer. I got a front derailleur problem with my mountain bike fixed (finding the right bike shop turned out to be the difference) and I did a full restore of my 1986 Univega touring bike. I went from doing one out of four rides on my conventional bike to one out of five local rides on my e-bike. My normal conventional ride is now about 25-30 miles.

When I first got the BMW e-bike, I thought I would eventually get rid of my conventional bikes. As it turned out, the e-bike led me back to traditional biking. I still love the e-bike, but currently reserve it for longer more adventurous rides. For instance, I'll use it to explore more or when we're up in the mountains. I also like it for "rest days" and those times when I ride with someone younger/stronger. I see the e-bike vs. conventional bikes as closely related but distinct activities. It's a bit like having a Mercedes and an old MG in your garage. One is heavier, more powerful, and more indifferent to changes in terrain or speed. As a baby boomer, I also find pleasure in feeling like I'm riding around on some futuristic device. With the other, much of the pleasure comes from feeling the limits of what you can do and pushing them. There's also a sort of satisfaction that comes from not being helped by a motor and riding around on tech that hasn't changed much in 100 years. As I get older, I suspect the ratio of e-bike rides to conventional rides will swing the other way again. In the meantime, I like having a foot in both bicycle worlds and when I get my second COVID shot, I'll finally be doing my longer tour on the E-bike.
Thanks for sharing your story... always good to mix it up a bit with different horses for courses. ;)
 

Chancelucky2

Active Member
Your Trek Crossrip looks to be similar to my BH Gravel X and weighs the same but the BH has a lower capacity 400w battery. I did a 3 day 175 mile tour with 8500ft elevation gain in eastern Oregon last fall. The longest day was day 1 at over 70 miles. I still had 30%+ battery left at the end of that day because I didn't use any assist for the first 40 miles. 2nd day was 40 miles into the wind much of the way, I don't remember how much battery was left. 3rd day was over 60 miles, that day I stopped at a day use portion of a state park and charged my battery then charged it again in a small town from a plug on the side of a closed city hall/police station while I took a break, there were other outlets in a small park. I might have been able to make the entire day on one charge but there was a miles long steep climb near the end and I didn't want to run out of battery and have to pedal that part without assist. Point is that you might not need two batteries even for a 100 mile day. Your bike has 25% more battery capacity and you won't likely need or want to ride with assist all of the time. I had the same concerns as you but it turned out to not be a problem at all even in remote eastern Oregon with many miles between the small towns. I don't want to spend $700 - $1000 for a spare battery but the major issue for me would be carrying the significant extra weight that an extra battery would entail, a 40+ pound bike is enough as it is.
I'm not in the early COVID vaccination groups but I don't plan on that stopping me. There is another eastern Oregon route that I want to do this May, vaccination or not.
FWIW I also did a 2 day 120 mile ride from Plummer ID to Wallace ID and back on a regular non-assist bike a week before doing the eastern OR ride on the BH. I would have enjoyed the ride much more with the BH. It wasn't a hilly route but heading east there was a steady mild grade and head wind so by the time I got to Wallace I was too tired to check out the area more as I had wanted.


I started at Bates State park, rode to Monument 1st day, 2nd day to Dayville, 3rd day back to Bates.

View attachment 77839

I’ve met several folks who enjoy both. :) Awesome!!😃
Thanks for filling me in about the feasibility one battery tour on your BH. IIRC, the BH is Yamaha based and has a 2X front derailleur. One of the issues with the BMW e-bike which allegedly was also made by BH was somewhat higher gearing and the Bosch 2nd generation motor which had a little bit of drag. I could get uphill on it, but it wasn't fun. The Trek has a little less drag, but it seems better than the BMW. More important though is that I have 2 batteries. On fairly mild terrain with the motor in eco some 90% of the time, I get close to 60 miles. On the Blue Ridge Parkway which is more or less a roller coaster with views, it was closer to 42 because I was in tour for the tougher hills. One of my concerns about a one battery tour though was finding places to recharge. I couldn't just find a Starbucks and recharge. The majority of public places that have plugs available are indoors and there aren't many places other than markets where we can go indoors and stay more than a few minutes. The second battery probably adds 5-6 pounds, but it makes 80-90 miles on any terrain except hilly single track doable. I'd also be doing it as a credit card tour, so I'm not that worried about weight.

One thing that might make one battery touring even more feasible would be faster recharge times. With my laptops, I've found that having USB C made a bigger difference than battery life, especially since alleged 10 hour battery life on a laptop is often 5-6 or even less much of the time. Being able to plug in and get an 80% charge in an hour is extremely convenient and would fit the way many people ride, 30 miles or so, a break, 30 miles.
 

EMGX

Well-Known Member
Credit card tour sounds fun. I've only done 2-3 day rides but in some remote locations where it was recommended to bring camping gear just in case the only establishment available in a small town was closed (or no towns at all for many miles), sometimes no one is around even when open. The nice thing with a relatively light ebike is that even with no assist you can get far pedaling, of course suffering on the climbs. I do like having a double chainring and the Yamaha motor doesn't have any noticeable drag. I changed the stock 48/36 to 44/32 (32 is smallest that will work on the spider) and changed the cassette from 11-28 to 11-32 (or 34, I don't remember). If I had a spare battery I'd be tempted to bring it too but I've become comfortable riding with only the one 400w battery, though I wish it was at least a 500w.
 
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rich c

Well-Known Member
Talk about circles. Last year I rode 3300 miles and never got further than 10 miles from home. In 2018, my wife said she felt sorry for me riding around in circles seeing the same old sights, so we took our ebikes to Colorado where we got to see mountains and ride in between them. We took our bikes to Florida at Xmastime in 2018 and 2019. Got to see sandy beaches and Santa's. Stayed home all last year.

Last year, my wife joined me for 2400 miles of circles. Fortunately, we have woods/water and some ability to juggle our routes. We talk about getting the Covid shots and going on a big road trip West this summer, packing bikes. Retired since 2001, probably not going to get another window to do it.

As far as bikes, I wish I had done more, but only 100 miles was on my non electric hybrid, The bulk of my miles are on a 20" skinny tire folder, since my wife likes her folder so much. Solo, I take out a 26" mountain bike conversion most of the time.
Same for me Harry, 3,027 total. Some people have to be saying, "Here he comes again!"
 

Chancelucky2

Active Member
I've gotten to the point where I recognize a lot of the bikes/faces on my local bike trail. For some reason, there are a bunch of people on Elliptigos and recumbents. There's one guy in a wheelchair that he powers with his arms through something like a bike crank. He also carries a floor pump with him. There are a handful of e-bikes. There's a younger guy with very curly hair who's always going about 25 miles/hour on his road bike. In many ways, it's gotten more interesting than the "conventional" scenery. At times, it's a lot like that game some people play in restaurants. You spot a pair or group of riders and try to figure out their story.