Greetings from the scorching desert heat in Las Vegas!

Stillhart

New Member
Region
USA
Hey folks!

Just wanted to pop in and say hi and introduce myself. I created an account to ask for advice on what bike to buy, but I ended up buying a bike before my account got approved. lol

Here's a story: I, at a relatively young 44 years old, was recently diagnosed with larynx cancer. I smoked for about 8 years and quit about 15-20 years ago but that was enough it seems. With my upcoming treatments, I've been told that fatigue will be a thing, but I should try to keep active if possible. Running is the easiest, but I've always hated running and much preferred biking. But my current bike is a very aggressive road bike with skinny tires and drop bars and no suspension I was thinking I'd need something a bit more laid back for this.

So I went to my LBS to see what was new in the world of bikes in the 15 years or so since I last shopped for one. As it turns out, a LOT. I ended up riding a Trek Verve+ 2 and was pretty much sold on getting an electric bike. It was everything I wanted with a more upright seating position, comfy wide bars, bouncy seat post, fun modern stuff like hydraulic disc brakes and of course electric assist. The only reason I didn't just buy it right away was because 1) I always do research before spending $3k on something and 2) they didn't have my size (I test rode a medium to get a feel for it, but I wouldn't buy a medium as I'm 6' tall).

Well I started researching and found about a zillion bikes in the $1200-$2000 range that seemed to be similar, the main difference being hub drive vs mid drive. Plus the hub drive ones are all class 3 and can just drive on electric power with no pedaling if you want. Also I saw these crazy super duper fat tire bikes that don't make sense without electric assist but seem to be pretty good option with it. I went to my local Pedego and tried out a few hub bikes (Interceptor, City Commuter) as well as their fat tire bike (Trail Something-or-another).

Here's where things got weird for me. I don't know if it's a Pedego thing or a hub drive thing, but "pedal assist" seems like a complete misnomer on those bikes. As far as I can tell, you set the assist to a certain speed (say 12mph) and then when you turn the pedal cranks at ANY speed, the bike will accelerate to 12mph (e.g.). Like, it does it regardless of whether you spinning the crank is actually helping anything or not. It was always either on 100% or off 0% and nothing in between, which felt really weird even if I set my gear and my cadence just right to float at around 12mph (e.g.) so it felt more like the Trek.

The Trek, on the other hand, felt more like actual pedal assist. I pushed down and it multiplied the force of how much I pushed, no matter how fast I was going or what gear I was in. This is what I expect from something called "pedal assist". I gather this is a function of the mid drive motor with torque sensors and powering the crank before the gears.

Anyways, I'm still confused about whether all hub bikes have that shitty excuse for pedal assist or not, but since I wanted the bike for exercise, not for an electric moped, I decided to nix the idea of the hub bikes and focus on the much more expensive mid engine bikes.

My next major discovery was that the COVID shortages have affected bikes along with seemingly everything else (I still can't get my hands on a RTX 3080, been trying for 6 months!). That Trek wasn't something I could find in my size, and it was backordered until April 2022! I called something like 8 bike shops around town until I found someone who not only had some ebikes in my size in stock, but they had one I wanted too! Knowing that my choices were limited, I jumped on the opportunity and ended up purchasing a brand new Giant Roam E+ GTS.

I test rode the Talon E+ they had in stock (basically the mountain bike version of the Roam) and the motor felt like the Trek, which is what I was hoping for. The Roam isn't quite as upright as the Trek, but it has a front suspension, it has a slightly more powerful motor (50Nm vs 40Nm) and it was a tad cheaper so I'm okay with that. I may splurge on some higher bars or whatever if I feel like it's too forward later.

It's weird that my choice basically came down to "whatever I could actually find in my size in stock since everything else was backordered for weeks or months or more" but I'm really happy that I found something pretty much what I was looking for and in my budget. I think everything worked out about as well as I could have hoped (other than the cancer). I start treatments next week and I'm hoping this bike helps me heal in some small way.

Anyways, that was a super long story and probably very uninteresting but I like writing so if you go this far, thanks for putting up with me. :-D And if you have any insight into the hub motor thing, let me know. I feel like I'm missing something because the pedal assist on them was horrible but people seem to be buying them. *shrug*
 

indianajo

Well-Known Member
Welcome to the site & the electric side of the hobby.
Yes, I found PAS with its minimum speed of 11 mph horrid. There is a 7 mile stretch of hwy 3 where I ride on a berm as skinny as 4" with a 6" deep trench between that and the main pavement. Too fast PAS1 is not the hub motor's fault, it is the controller. I only use throttle with my hub motor now, but may upgrade to torque sense in a month or two as I'm going to have to pull the crank arm off for replacement anyway. The advantage of the hub motor, I get ~5000 miles per chain. My first hub motor wore out in less miles ($221), but was easier to change than a chain. I pedalled that motor 35 miles home locked up with the one way clutch making it possible.
Trek makes a good bike, but no stock, no buy. You may be very happy with a Giant: they are a popular brand. Yamaha drive, right? Glad you addressed the issue of frame size & posture. Many people get so wrapped up in the electric side of things they forget the frame & posture have to fit or a ride is miserable. I had to order a bike from California I had never sat on to get a frame that fits my short legs & upright posture. Nothing in shops here fits me except the pink one speed bike with rim brakes & the Holly Hobbie logo on the seat.
Hope there are enough backroads and trails out there to give you some scenery. Don't forget the water. I take 40 oz with me and it rains 220 days a year here. Blow a tire or lose a hub ball, you push the bike home or call a tow truck. 7 speed shimano rear axle tends to come unscrewed & drop balls, no lock nut on the race. My longest push so far is 7 miles with 50 lb groceries on the back. Drank all the water that July day.
There is a bit of Nevada I'd like to tour, but it is up around Elko. More scenery, less cars, IMHO. I grew up in Houston: I've had enough of pushy drivers & road rage. My car was rear ended 7 times before I left for good. The last time I didn't even have the brake on.
 
Last edited:

Martinet

Member
Good luck with Giant ebike and especially with your chemo. While there are fewer hub drives with a good torque sensor, I am looking forward to the hub drive Zen which is being developed; a hub drive should be well suited to LV as it is relatively flat. Unfortunately, I am too late a riser to ride in this heat wave.

I have attached a link to trails in the LV area: https://wizardofvegas.com/trails/
 

Taylor57

Well-Known Member
Welcome Stillhart! I have a couple of hub drives and one mid-drive. I ride mostly on the street and sidewalks and to be honest, I cant really tell a difference other than my middrive will do 38mph throttle only and my rear hub drive will do 28 max. I think the real ebikers on this forum will disagree, but for 1200 bucks for hub drive vs 4k for middrive-give me the Espin Sport!
 

Stillhart

New Member
Region
USA
Welcome Stillhart! I have a couple of hub drives and one mid-drive. I ride mostly on the street and sidewalks and to be honest, I cant really tell a difference other than my middrive will do 38mph throttle only and my rear hub drive will do 28 max. I think the real ebikers on this forum will disagree, but for 1200 bucks for hub drive vs 4k for middrive-give me the Espin Sport!
Yeah I don't know, maybe the Pedegos just have a bad implementation, but it felt nothing like the Trek and the Giant that I tried. It's a shame, I really had my eye on the Aventon Aventure/Level or the Ride1Up 700/LTD. All cheaper than the Giant I got but if the hub motor just feels like a moped instead of a real pedal assist, I don't want it.
 

PatriciaK

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Pacific Northwest and Piedmont Triad
Not all hub drives are equal... Some have adjustable PAS levels, some have more natural feeling acceleration and lower PAS 1 speeds (mine accelerates very smoothly and tops out at about 6 mph).

There's no right or wrong with hub VS mid drives, there's just right for you, and the terrain/conditions you plan on riding most 😉.

Wishing you well through your treatment and recovery!
 

Stillhart

New Member
Region
USA
Not all hub drives are equal... Some have adjustable PAS levels, some have more natural feeling acceleration and lower PAS 1 speeds (mine accelerates very smoothly and tops out at about 6 mph).

There's no right or wrong with hub VS mid drives, there's just right for you, and the terrain/conditions you plan on riding most 😉.

Wishing you well through your treatment and recovery!
Well maybe if my wife decides she wants to join me, I'll look into getting her a hub one and we can compare. People rave about them so, again, I feel like I'm missing something. Maybe Pedego just sucks. **shrug**
 

Stillhart

New Member
Region
USA
Well, my story continues: I got the Roam home and realized a few disappointing things about it. It had lower tier shifters than the Talon that I'd test ridden, the brake levers were not the same quality as the Shimanos on the Trek I'd ridden, and the seating stance was still pretty aggressive, which I thought would be a bit less so than the MTB Talon.

But I decided to go for a long ride and see how it went. Turns out, the shifters and brakes weren't really a deal breaker. For the way I ride, I could live with them. The seating position had my neck aching a little by the end of the ride though. I decided I'd put some money into an adjustable stem so I could raise the bars up and ease my neck pain a bit.

The next day I rode off to my LBS to grab a stem. On the way there, my chain decided to jump off the front ring for no discernable reason. I was on a flat, straight stretch of road with no bumps, I wasn't changing gears at the time, just cruising along in high gear. It has a protector around the outside of the gear so the chain dropped into the inside where it got jammed in between the cranks and the frame. It took a significant amount of force to free it, but I popped it back on easily enough and was on my way.

Needless to say, I found it worrying that the chain came off a brand new bike on my second ride for no reason. I did some research on here and apparently, this is not an uncommon issue. Combine all that with the other small issues I was having and I was starting to have some $2800 (after tax) buyer's remorse.

I decided to take advantage of the 14-day return policy and give up the Roam. Regardless of availability of other ebikes, I knew I didn't like that a bike that cost that much felt like a much lower-end bike given the bottom-end components and design flaw.

The story now turns to my research into what to get instead. The short version: I found a store nearby with another bike that looked like a good fit. I rode it and really liked it. It was more upright and comfortable, it used a grip shifter instead of cheap-feeling thumb shifters (I consider this a side-grade), and it had an internally geared hub instead of a traditional group set (so no chain popping off!). Oh and it had a step up in the motor from Syncdrive Core to Syncdrive Life, with more power and higher top speed. I purchased the Momentum Transend E+ and I'm really excited to bring it home tomorrow.
 

PatriciaK

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Pacific Northwest and Piedmont Triad
Well, my story continues: I got the Roam home and realized a few disappointing things about it. It had lower tier shifters than the Talon that I'd test ridden, the brake levers were not the same quality as the Shimanos on the Trek I'd ridden, and the seating stance was still pretty aggressive, which I thought would be a bit less so than the MTB Talon.

But I decided to go for a long ride and see how it went. Turns out, the shifters and brakes weren't really a deal breaker. For the way I ride, I could live with them. The seating position had my neck aching a little by the end of the ride though. I decided I'd put some money into an adjustable stem so I could raise the bars up and ease my neck pain a bit.

The next day I rode off to my LBS to grab a stem. On the way there, my chain decided to jump off the front ring for no discernable reason. I was on a flat, straight stretch of road with no bumps, I wasn't changing gears at the time, just cruising along in high gear. It has a protector around the outside of the gear so the chain dropped into the inside where it got jammed in between the cranks and the frame. It took a significant amount of force to free it, but I popped it back on easily enough and was on my way.

Needless to say, I found it worrying that the chain came off a brand new bike on my second ride for no reason. I did some research on here and apparently, this is not an uncommon issue. Combine all that with the other small issues I was having and I was starting to have some $2800 (after tax) buyer's remorse.

I decided to take advantage of the 14-day return policy and give up the Roam. Regardless of availability of other ebikes, I knew I didn't like that a bike that cost that much felt like a much lower-end bike given the bottom-end components and design flaw.

The story now turns to my research into what to get instead. The short version: I found a store nearby with another bike that looked like a good fit. I rode it and really liked it. It was more upright and comfortable, it used a grip shifter instead of cheap-feeling thumb shifters (I consider this a side-grade), and it had an internally geared hub instead of a traditional group set (so no chain popping off!). Oh and it had a step up in the motor from Syncdrive Core to Syncdrive Life, with more power and higher top speed. I purchased the Momentum Transend E+ and I'm really excited to bring it home tomorrow.
Momentum is a subsidiary of Giant, so you shouldn't have any problems with support - enjoy your bike!
 

indianajo

Well-Known Member
If the crank sprocket is not mounted crooked (rare), there is a stop screw that prevents the chain from popping off the big or little sprockets to wrap around the shaft. My $1900 yubabike came adjusted perfectly via FedEx. A shop supported $2900 bike should not need any adjustments. Good riddance.