Have you noticed that the vast majority of ebikes are "recreation-focused?"

AHicks

Well-Known Member
Meanwhile, if they were to decide to team up with a decent hub drive (hopefully a gear driven hub drive), there would be no reason to look down on it because Shimano didn't build it. Who cares who built it? As long as it's reliable, has good performance as compared to others, and is well supported, why would you not want to support a product like that?
 

Thomas Jaszewski

Well-Known Member
I'd be excited to offer quality hub drive e-bikes if they were offered by a company that had a history of supporting what they sell.
I think we agree but are splitting hairs.

There's an entire segment of the bicycle business that's devoted to kit building and supporting eBikes as their central focus. We have more and more shops doing conversions for customers. Taking their favorite bikes. A bike the customer has enjoyed and sometimes even cherished and made it possible to ride again. Sometimes that's a 69-year-old guy that used to ride his Paramount to Minneapolis, 120 miles away just for a giggle. But that was then, now it is 50 years and 50 pounds later. Shimano does NOTHING for him or those shops.

Obviously that's not you. You look at the eBike business through the eyes of a knowledgable, successful, and no doubt astute traditional bike shop.

You want a product delivered and supported just as your best brands have been supported and supplied to you through your successful career. Your shop doesn't apparently want to split a section off to that eBike business model. I get that, why should you.

But your style LBS, in my experience, is a changing paradigm. At least for the many shops that have struggled in a previously shrinking market gobbled up by big box stores and Americans not looking to you for daily transportation.

I suspect because of your aplomb you'll continue to sell pedal bikes and sell and support a line of eBikes. A local shop recently dumped all of the KHS lines, works with a custom frame builder and now only deals in high-end road and gravel bikes. Several lines of high-end fat bikes are in demand by those same riders and so they are available. He absolutely will NEVER sell or support eBikes. He's found his spot. I don't think I could walk out of his store with the bike under 2K. No more $600 conversion bikes for me!
(bummer, those pre 2017 KHS Smoothies made great Townie style conversions until KHS dumbed the components down)


I spent an hour today with a shop tech that has learned about various conversions and motor style and that shop has seen real growth on the back of the DIY market, supporting several lines of motors and motor styles. His market didn't have the demand that my friend Brone and he lost interest in the spandex crowd. (now don't think I have a problem with what someone wears, if I weren't so lumpy I might be in it)

To discount an entire style of motor common in the new emerging, when it seems only because your favored supplier doesn't market it.... well geez.... it does make you sound the fanboy. (maybe the word carries more negativity than descriptive value, but it's intended to say it sounds like brand loyalty and your personal business models spill over into criticizing something you have no experience in. And for whatever good reason aren't interested in it. Hey, that's all good by me.

You made some really great posts and have FAR more experience than I'll ever catch up to when discussing acoustic bikes. Thanks for sharing what you know! I look forward to learning more.

We power fanboys knows(sic) are s*it too!
 

Mass Deduction

Active Member
I think we agree but are splitting hairs.

There's an entire segment of the bicycle business that's devoted to kit building and supporting eBikes as their central focus. We have more and more shops doing conversions for customers. Taking their favorite bikes. A bike the customer has enjoyed and sometimes even cherished and made it possible to ride again. Sometimes that's a 69-year-old guy that used to ride his Paramount to Minneapolis, 120 miles away just for a giggle. But that was then, now it is 50 years and 50 pounds later. Shimano does NOTHING for him or those shops.

Obviously that's not you. You look at the eBike business through the eyes of a knowledgable, successful, and no doubt astute traditional bike shop.

You want a product delivered and supported just as your best brands have been supported and supplied to you through your successful career. Your shop doesn't apparently want to split a section off to that eBike business model. I get that, why should you.

But your style LBS, in my experience, is a changing paradigm. At least for the many shops that have struggled in a previously shrinking market gobbled up by big box stores and Americans not looking to you for daily transportation.

I suspect because of your aplomb you'll continue to sell pedal bikes and sell and support a line of eBikes. A local shop recently dumped all of the KHS lines, works with a custom frame builder and now only deals in high-end road and gravel bikes. Several lines of high-end fat bikes are in demand by those same riders and so they are available. He absolutely will NEVER sell or support eBikes. He's found his spot. I don't think I could walk out of his store with the bike under 2K. No more $600 conversion bikes for me!
(bummer, those pre 2017 KHS Smoothies made great Townie style conversions until KHS dumbed the components down)


I spent an hour today with a shop tech that has learned about various conversions and motor style and that shop has seen real growth on the back of the DIY market, supporting several lines of motors and motor styles. His market didn't have the demand that my friend Brone and he lost interest in the spandex crowd. (now don't think I have a problem with what someone wears, if I weren't so lumpy I might be in it)

To discount an entire style of motor common in the new emerging, when it seems only because your favored supplier doesn't market it.... well geez.... it does make you sound the fanboy. (maybe the word carries more negativity than descriptive value, but it's intended to say it sounds like brand loyalty and your personal business models spill over into criticizing something you have no experience in. And for whatever good reason aren't interested in it. Hey, that's all good by me.

You made some really great posts and have FAR more experience than I'll ever catch up to when discussing acoustic bikes. Thanks for sharing what you know! I look forward to learning more.

We power fanboys knows(sic) are s*it too!
Again, I mentioned Shimano not out of fandom (Shimano's done some things that were decidedly not positive for our business over the years!). I mention Shimano because I think they're uniquely positioned for the reasons I mentioned. I'd be just as happy if it were SRAM, but SRAM has shown no interest in e-bikes yet. I just want it to be from a company with a history of quality, support, and (most especially) long-term parts availability. And yes, for many of the reasons you said, and other reasons besides.

We've sold hub motor bikes in the past, and hub motor conversion kits too. We did a Pendix mid-drive conversion last year, and assisted a customer with a Bafang mid-drive conversion. One of our staff did a Bafang mid-drive conversion on one of their personal bikes.

We have tried (and continue to try) other options with varying degrees of success, but keep coming back to OEM mid-drives. Less labour and better support (including service documentation) than any hub motor bike or conversion kit we've interacted with. And we lost customers over BionX going under because we can't get parts for those systems through our suppliers anymore, so that has us cautious about e-bike start-ups. So our experience has been low labour/high success with OEM mid-drives, and higher labour/low success with hub motors and conversion kits. We've found it hard to charge what the time for a conversion kit is worth, yet it ties up a mechanic for a while who could be doing other things that need doing.

Do you have any response to my musing about Shimano and hub motors? Doing so seems to be within their normal modus opperandi, and yet they're not yet (at least not publicly). I find that genuinely curious since they've made e-bikes a big part of their business. I very much respect your long-term contribution to this forum, and am curious about my observations about Shimano's typical approach, and how hub motors could fit into that, and reasons Shimano may be holding off from executing their typical playbook.

I'm also surprised that there's nothing e-bike related of any sort from SRAM yet, that's even weirder.
 

Mass Deduction

Active Member
Meanwhile, if they were to decide to team up with a decent hub drive (hopefully a gear driven hub drive), there would be no reason to look down on it because Shimano didn't build it. Who cares who built it? As long as it's reliable, has good performance as compared to others, and is well supported, why would you not want to support a product like that?
Our experience so far with e-bike-only options from companies without long track records is companies exiting the e-bike business one way or another (BionX, Mavic, and others), or companies losing interest in old models as newer ones come out (Merida, and others)

So the company behind the product matters to us for that reason. We're picky about the products we sell, but also the companies we deal with. We want to tell customers that we have a high degree of confidence of long-term parts availability for their expensive new purchase because the company behind the motor has spent decades building up that reputation for long-term serviceability.

Well supported today but gone tomorrow is the possibility that we're trying to avoid.

I don't care whom it is, so long as it meets that criteria, plus is quality, plus priced in such a way as it fills a niche. Could be Shimano, or SRAM, or anyone else that has built that trust so that we can sell it with confidence.
 

Thomas Jaszewski

Well-Known Member
As an early adopter of 2 Shimano 3 speed automatic bikes, base price around $1300 before fenders racks lights and baskets...the mystique has disappeared. No way for me to believe they’re any better than most of the motor builders I listed.

Very good that your open. But you’re apparently either not as hungry or don’t need the growth we’re seeing with other shops. If I were a shop doing installs I’d be all over Grin products. Especially being a Canadian. The new wall between us means high shipping prices.
 
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ebikemom

Administrator
Staff member
I'm happy with my "recreational" ebike that I use for commuting, errands, and recreation. I don't want it to go any faster than it does--I like being in the speed range of a bicycle, although of course I ride faster than I would if I were completely person-powered. :) I have about 4,000 miiles on my ebike.

I rarely go above 20mph unless downhill (though my bike assists up to 25mph).

Happy cycling!
 

Mass Deduction

Active Member
As an early adopter of 2 Shimano 3 speed automatic bikes, base price around $1300 before fenders racks lights and baskets...the mystique has disappeared. No way for me to believe they’re any better than most of the motor builders I listed.

Very good that your open. But you’re apparently either not as hungry or don’t need the growth we’re seeing with other shops. If I were a shop doing installs I’d be all over Grin products. Especially being a Canadian. The new wall between us means high shipping prices.
Didn't Shimano make parts for that system for years after they took it off the market? I saw those parts in our ordering system for what seemed like a heck of a long time afterward.

In any case, I'd still really value it if you set aside all that and look just at my thought about the possibility of them doing (or not doing) a hub motor product, and why. If you're actually refusing to comment just say so, and I'll stop asking. But I'm genuinely curious and would genuinely appreciate your input.

We saw substantial growth in e-bike sales in 2018, and again in 2019, so growth is not a problem. Capacity to sustain that growth is. I don't have enough benches and mechanics to tie them up doing conversions, especially custom conversions, as that's a substantial increase in labour over just building OEM mid-drives units, without an obvious benefit to the store. We've done many conversions with BionX and Pendix systems before. And we'd probably lose staff over it, which I absolutely can't afford. They don't like working on OEM hub motor bikes, let alone doing conversions. I'm sure they'd do it if I insist, but you can only make someone do something they don't want to do so many times before they brush up their resume. It would lead to staff retention problems I fear.

But again, I would really, genuinely like you to comment on the substance of my query about whether Shimano may or may not consider making a quality hub motor product, and why or why not. You agreed with someone's assessment that Shimano might not do so because they've learned to be focused, and then I provided evidence that that's a false assertion, demonstrating that when Shimano starts to get traction in a market segment they typically attempt to dominate every price point, even if it means introducing category products that they'd rather not. I would truly value your second thoughts on the issue given that.
 

AHicks

Well-Known Member
I'm not sure I get your point. In fact, I'm pretty sure I don't. Shimano makes components, not bikes. When you take on a line of bikes, isn't it the bike manf. that you turn to for component support? Do you not bill the bike manf. when/if warranty services are provided on their product? I doubt seriously you're going to bill Shimano (or any other component manf) directly for anything you do.

I do get why you might select a line of bikes to handle due to the components they use to build a bike. If you know those, then it's much easier to trust the bike manf., right?

I do not get why you would prefer to avoid dealing with rear hub driven bikes until Shimano comes out with a design of their own. From what I have seen, regardless of what manf built the rear hub, the chances are slim you would ever have to deal with it, and assuming you did at some point, it's not that expensive to service ANY rear hub as a complete assembly, including a pre-laced on rim. How difficult is that?
 

Mass Deduction

Active Member
I'm not sure I get your point. In fact, I'm pretty sure I don't. Shimano makes components, not bikes. When you take on a line of bikes, isn't it the bike manf. that you turn to for component support? Do you not bill the bike manf. when/if warranty services are provided on their product? I doubt seriously you're going to bill Shimano (or any other component manf) directly for anything you do.

I do get why you might select a line of bikes to handle due to the components they use to build a bike. If you know those, then it's much easier to trust the bike manf., right?

I do not get why you would prefer to avoid dealing with rear hub driven bikes until Shimano comes out with a design of their own. From what I have seen, regardless of what manf built the rear hub, the chances are slim you would ever have to deal with it, and assuming you did at some point, it's not that expensive to service ANY rear hub as a complete assembly, including a pre-laced on rim. How difficult is that?
You are incorrect, if I have a problem with a Shimano component on a bike I go to Shimano, not the bike manufacturer. If I talk to Kona or Felt or <fill-in-bike-manufacturer-here> about a Shimano, or a SRAM, or a Schwalbe, or a whatever product, they'll just tell me to talk to that component supplier. That's one of the reasons why bike manufacturers deal with brand name component suppliers, they offer warranty service for the bike manufacturer.

Last I knew, SRAM guarantees that they will make parts for any product them sell for a minimum of 2 years after removing it from the market, more if there's demand. For e-bike components at least, Shimano is even better, guaranteeing that they will continue to make spare parts available for a minimum of 5 years after they stop selling it, more if there's demand.

I didn't say I'd refuse to deal with hub motors until Shimano made one. I explicitly said the opposite in fact, that I'd be happy for someone else to do so, so long as they met some basic minimum criteria. The criteria I listed was:

- quality
- a history of availability of parts and service documentation for years after the fact
- a business that's not an e-bike-only play to reduce the odds of them going out of business

These criteria come from dealing with substandard experiences in the past, such as e-bike companies that went out of business, or that lost interest in supporting old models as newer ones came out, or that just didn't put out a good product.

I'd be thrilled for any company that meets these criteria stepping up. I mentioned Shimano repeatedly by name because I think they're uniquely positioned to do this and, importantly, *have a history of doing so*.

Shimano partnering with another company would be a potential concern as it would introduce doubt about how well and how long the other company would support the product with replacement parts.

Shimano for sure has tried and later cancelled initiatives that weren't working. However, when something starts working for Shimano, they have a history of trying to have a product at every popular price point. I have provided numerous examples of Shimano doing this, and asked for *a single example* of Shimano not doing so. No single example of Shimano having significant success in a market segment, and not subsequently trying to address every price point from top to bottom, has been offered in return.

I think the problem here is people aren't taking my posts at face value, they're trying to read between the lines. I even said that not only was I not a Shimano fanboy, but I even took the time to state that Shimano had made decisions in the past *that had harmed my business*. I think there's been a tendency for people to read what they expect to see, rather than what I'm actually saying, in this particular thread.

Are we in agreement that the whole e-bike thing is working out for Shimano? I think we are, so then my mind looks forward to their next steps. Will they address those super entry-level price points, as they do in gearing, brakes, hubs, etc.? If they're not going to follow their normal modus opperandi, why not? If they are going to do their normal thing, then how? Cheaper mid-drives, or introducing hub motors?
 
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indianajo

Well-Known Member
Are we in agreement that the whole e-bike thing is working out for Shimano? I think we are, so then my mind looks forward to their next steps.
If I had an intense desire to ride up a California mountain to the top, say Angelese crest highway to Mt Wilson, I'd buy a shimano mid drive. Theirs is one I could ride most of the time unpowered without drag. My geared hub would probably overheat & short a turn up that road. When I was buying in 2017, e cargo bikes were all bosch, which divorces one from all aerobic exercise.
With 90%? of ebike sales in California, I don't see shimano taking on the warrenty risk of a hub drive. electric-bikes.com was right, geared hub is not suited for mountain climbs over 20 minutes. Except that Swiss one, that had cooling fins, that no authorized dealer would sell me in 2018. Meagher? I'd have paid $2000 to avoid buying from *****. PIty you had to buy their tiny battery with it.
 
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Thomas Jaszewski

Well-Known Member
But again, I would really, genuinely like you to comment on the substance of my query about whether Shimano may or may not consider making a quality hub motor product, and why or why not
I don't care. I mean why would I? I see no advantage in the eBike world. There are MORE than enough very good choices out there. What could Shimano do for the market? Other than have an instant distribution market?

The emerging-market has marketed mid drives as the best option. All high-end bikes seem to have moved that way. From my perspective, it reminds me of the cage market. Even though the diesel engine was far more efficient, and had many advantages it never made the market here in the USA. It was all marketing.

Even 4 cylinder cars were pushed off. Ford came up with a V4 4cyclinder, 1/2 of a 289, the industrial engine in a front-wheel-drive in the early '60s. No one wanted them. Saab used the system for a while and Bobcat used the 300,000-mile engine too. But it bombed with the buying public.

There are at least a half dozen well supported, efficient, well-made hub drives available today. Unlike diesel, I can buy them now. Doing conversions with Grin kits is a very easy project if the salesman knows enough to pick and choose which bikes make a good conversion. Heck, I can convert a bike, after sorting it's build issues, to a BBSxx kit in under 2 hours. A proper shop and experienced mechanic ought to easily match that. I'm a palm tree horticulturalist and people manager by trade.

It was a 4-hour job until I invested a few hundred bucks into proper bike tools. The biggest issue supporting BBSxx DIY kits is sorting the bikes geometry and whether it will fit and have a full range of gears.

As an aside I have a whole new level of respect for bike mechanics since starting a build from scratch. I bought a bare frame, Marin step-through hybrid NOS. Every step of the build process had a problem to overcome. Buying individual parts and fitting them was a long and arduous process for me. I had to invest another couple hundred in tools to do things right. I get frustrated with customers that diss their LBS and are really clueless as to how complex a bicycle really is. Simple looking but under the skin quite a complex set of engineering feats. But I'm drifting here....
 

Thomas Jaszewski

Well-Known Member
If I had an intense desire to ride up a California mountain to the top, say Angelese crest highway to Mt Wilson, I'd buy a shimano mid drive. Theirs is one I could ride most of the time unpowered without drag. My geared hub would probably overheat & short a turn up that road. When I was buying in 2017, e cargo bikes were all bosch, which divorces one from all aerobic exercise.
With 90%? of ebike sales in California, I don't see shimano taking on the warrenty risk of a hub drive. electric-bikes.com was right, geared hub is not suited for mountain climbs over 20 minutes. Except that Swiss one, that had cooling fins, that no authorized dealer would sell me in 2018. Meagher? I'd have paid $2000 to avoid buying from *****. PIty you had to buy their tiny battery with it.
Hey Joe, ever see a hub drive used as a mid-drive? It's a design I've always been curious about but never came across a great deal on a cargo frame to build one.

BTW playing around with the ebikes.ca motor simulator it seems some gear drive motors with the right input and lower speeds are pretty good climbers. But it seems once we put a motor on a bike we want to ride it like a motorscooter or motorcycle and cruise up at speeds that will definitely cook a hub.

BTW lots of BBS01 and BBS02 mid drives have been fried by those pushing them too hard and not keeping them at higher RPMs. Riders get lazy and start thinking that throttle makes them a motorbike!


EDIT I'e seen a couple of small Q128, Q100 geared hub motors used in 2wd bikes. Much smaller than my MACs but having ridden a 2wd MAC I can imagine those little hummers would make a great 2wd ride. They're pretty cheap too. And there are parts available. I might start selling them. I like that their size makes them very stealthy, and with the new controllers that can fit in the base of a battery pack or be tucked into the smallest of spaces, the whole build could lose the look of an eBike. Stealthy seems a direction many DIY fellas are liking.

A fella in Australia did a friction design DIY assist that is really amazing. The battery is in the water bottle, the controller is a little ESC like in electric skateboards.
 

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Thomas Jaszewski

Well-Known Member
I was always amazed at Kepler's drives and watching the progression of his designs was always fun.
I had the last kit and still have the first. Which is actually a pretty nice design. I should probably pass it on. His design ideas for soldering battery packs I think are the only safe techniques for building packs with soldering irons!

John is also a really incredible human being!. I started my first battery build just after having a stroke and heart attack. I really struggled with comprehension but John and Sam in AU were incredible. They hung in with me and helped me immeasurably. It was a major part of my recovery and regaining my ability to sort thoughts and communicate. An amazing side note to a fun hobby.
 

indianajo

Well-Known Member
BTW playing around with the ebikes.ca motor simulator it seems some gear drive motors with the right input and lower speeds are pretty good climbers. But it seems once we put a motor on a bike we want to ride it like a motorscooter or motorcycle and cruise up at speeds that will definitely cook a hub.
EDIT I'e seen a couple of small Q128, Q100 geared hub motors used in 2wd bikes. Much smaller than my MACs but having ridden a 2wd MAC I can imagine those little hummers would make a great 2wd ride. They're pretty cheap too. And there are parts available. I might start selling them.
As long as I hit a steep hill above 10 mph the 1200 w 48 v ebikeling geared hub will hold that or more. Even on 15% @330 lb gross. But starting from a stop on 15% it will only go 4. I do 77 short hills powered sometimes in high winds, 4 @ 15% and don't overheat it. But there are no long steady steep grades here.
I looked 3 times at QT128, but there were no specs. Not dropout width, not sprocket thread or not, not voltage in, max current in, what connector the hall effect sensors had, what connector the phase wires had. So I didn't bother. Would have required a throw away credit card to send to a server in *****. Even if only $150.
Bought a mac12 but haven't installed it yet. Have to dig the tandem target bike out of the back of all the items in the garage, in good weather.
 

Camac

Active Member
If SUVs are so great why doesn't Lamborgini make one? Pretty silly huh?

s)
they do: The Urus has a front-engine, all-wheel-drive layout, and a top speed of 305 km/h (190 mph) making it one of the world's fastest production SUVs. The Urus can accelerate from 0–100 km/h (62 mph) in 3.6 seconds and 0–200 km/h (124 mph) in 12.8 seconds.
 

Timpo

Well-Known Member
they do: The Urus has a front-engine, all-wheel-drive layout, and a top speed of 305 km/h (190 mph) making it one of the world's fastest production SUVs. The Urus can accelerate from 0–100 km/h (62 mph) in 3.6 seconds and 0–200 km/h (124 mph) in 12.8 seconds.
Jeep Trackhawk

$85,900

0-60mph: 3.5 sec
1/4 mile: 11.6 sec
Topspeed: 180mph

 

Mass Deduction

Active Member
Getting this thread back on track. We sell a lot of the same e-bikes to recreational cyclists, and to people who are using them for commuters. A step-through e-bike could be something to ride on a local regional trail, or it could have a pannier rack and bags attached to it and used as a road warrior commuter e-bike. Most of the step-through e-bikes we've been selling come with fenders (eg. Felt Verza-E, Opus Connect LRT, Raleigh Detour iE, Del Sol LXI I/O, etc.) which suggests to me that the manufacturers either intend people to use them as all-weather recreational bikes, or that they understand that a lot of them are used for commuting as well.

I'm pointing to the step-throughs as traditionally they've been seen as more recreational in nature. But we have military personnel come down in their fatigues after work requesting step-through e-bikes for commuting, so attitudes are clearly changing about them. Many guys that wouldn't consider a step-through in a non-e-bike, are open to them with an electric assist bicycle. I think e-bikes are different enough that it removes people from their preconceptions.

I wouldn't want to hazard a guess how many of the e-bikes we sell are commuter-only, vs. recreational-only, vs. a mix of commuters and recreational only. It's lots of all of the above, though.

So I guess what I'm pointing to is that when I look at a bike like that it doesn't look like a recreational bike to me. It looks like an all-purpose bike, and how it's accessorized will determine its use.
 
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trainman

Active Member
Getting this thread back on track. We sell a lot of the same e-bikes to recreational cyclists, and to people who are using them for commuters. A step-through e-bike could be something to ride on a local regional trail, or it could have a pannier rack and bags attached to it and used as a road warrior commuter e-bike. Most of the step-through e-bikes we've been selling come with fenders (eg. Felt Verza-E, Opus Connect LRT, Raleigh Detour iE, Del Sol LXI I/O, etc.) which suggests to me that the manufacturers either intend people to use them as all-weather recreational bikes, or that they understand that a lot of them are used for commuting as well.

I'm pointing to the step-throughs as traditionally they've been seen as more recreational in nature. But we have military personnel come down in their fatigues after work requesting step-through e-bikes for commuting, so attitudes are clearly changing about them. Many guys that wouldn't consider a step-through in a non-e-bike, are open to them with an electric assist bicycle. I think e-bikes are different enough that it removes people from their preconceptions.

I wouldn't want to hazard a guess how many of the e-bikes we sell are commuter-only, vs. recreational-only, vs. a mix of commuters and recreational only. It's lots of all of the above, though.

So I guess what I'm pointing to is that when I look at a bike like that it doesn't look like a recreational bike to me. It looks like an all-purpose bike, and how it's accessorized will determine its use.
I'm with you on the Step Thur models, we did purchase the Rad Mini Step Thur's as a recreational ebike and are very happy with that model of ebike. We did look at other step thur's including the other Rad 26" model, but after wanting a folding ebike we went with the Rad Mini. I do feel our 20" Fat Tire ebike would also make a great commuter ride, we don't use it that way, but for those who might I see no reason not to have one of that reason.
 

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