Heavy, Female, Partially Disabled interested in EBike

DisabledWheelz

New Member
Hello!

I’ve just now learned about even the existence of electric bikes within the last few days. I’m possibly moving to Seattle, so an electric bike would be a great way of getting around town for short trips, if I actually manage to get healthy enough to make the most of it. I haven't ridden much since I was knocked off my bike in 2004. I've developed degenerative discs, sciatica, and put on quite a lot of weight since then due to impaired mobility and other health issues.

In the past year I’ve gotten it together, done more physical therapy, and gotten to where I can walk longer stretches with a cane instead of always relying on a rolling walker, and no longer need an electric cart at grocery stores - yay!

With moving to Seattle, and parking being at a premium, I am considering an electric bike if I can get to where I can consistently using my cane more often. I’d need something that could hold a rider that weighs 375lbs, plus some groceries, and still handle some hills. It would need a wider seat to spread out my weight so as to not aggravate my sciatic nerve, and a more upright position to not aggravate my back. I also can’t afford to spend $3,000+ on a bike.

I’ve looked online at the Liberty Trike Electric Tricycle and the Daymak Florence Electric Trike - though I think the Daymak may only be rated for up to 220 pounds, if I’m reading their manual correctly? I also didn't like the slow stopping on the Daymak. The Liberty Trike had the benefit of fitting through doors, though I don't really see stores welcoming that in as if I were continuing on in on a motorized wheelchair - hah! While it was foldable, I doubt I'd ever have the strength to actually pick the thing up.

My last bike was a Schwinn Cruiser and I loved that bike! If I could convert one, that’d honestly be perfect but I wouldn’t even know how to begin, or what type I’d want to buy to best convert it. The Town & Country would be awesome if it could be converted as I think a trike would be my best option. Of course, the downside to a trike is that I wouldn't be able to put it on the bike rack on a bus, so if there's a particularly stable/wide-tired 2-wheel bike that you might recommend, I'd love to check that out, too.
 

DisabledWheelz

New Member
Oh wow. That really does check off so many of my needs! And it's got that sleek, kind of vintage feel of a Schwinn Cruiser, too :) It's definitely in the more affordable range. Thank you so much for the suggestion.
 

pxpaulx

Well-Known Member
I'm a little under your weight (probably been there at some point) - there aren't really going to many (if any) options that will say you're within their limits - I wouldn't let that deter you. As long as you're not riding really hard you shouldn't have an issue. You might want to check out something like rad power bikes rad mini - the larger 4 inch tires will provide a softer ride and the folding style is a more upright riding position as well. Rad Power Bikes is actually located in Seattle I believe, so you could check them out in person.

Actually, I know the owner has done a lot of custom work in the past and perhaps could work with you to add a motor setup to a non-electric bike that might be more suitable. What is your ideal/stretch budget? That would help us guide you a little more than stating what you don't want to spend as well :)
 

DisabledWheelz

New Member
@J.R. - thanks again. I chatted with Roshan on the Biktrix site. While the bike isn't fully rated to my size, he thinks I'd do OK, especially if I were to upgrade to the larger motor if I were going to do any hills.

@pxpaulx - Thank you. I'll have to make sure and drop by the Rad Power Bike shop when we're up in Seattle in a few weeks! I'd like to keep my budget to closer to $2K than $3k+.
 

Berry78

Active Member
Just wanted to add....they make such things as adult stabilizing wheels (training wheels). You might want to get these from the start until you feel confident on 2 wheels. It is just important to make sure the bike can accomodate them.
 

MLB

Well-Known Member
I'm not sure 400+ lbs of bike and rider should be using rim brakes at Ebike speeds. (pretty sure you shouldn't). Rims heat up dramatically at speed when the brakes are used. Used hard in hilly places they occasionally fail due to heat!
Ebike speeds replicate downhills to a degree. Not to scare, but's its a concern. Drums or Disk brakes would probably be highly advised.
Since no trikes are mass produced, most of them will work with you to setup it up correctly, and some of them do a lot of work with challenged situations. For sure the weight can be dealt with much easier than a 2 wheeler. If you have any balance issues at all, stick with a trike! LOTS of choices!! (bentrideronline.com) at the top of the home page are many many links to individual manufacturers. Lightfoot and others are well knows for very heavy duty setups for larger load ratings.
I doubt any stock setups will pull you up hills with groceries. Gearing would need to be lower than stock for sure.
 
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George S.

Well-Known Member
I converted a step-through Trek 820 mountain bike with a big direct drive hub motor. I also put cruiser bars on the front, which makes the ride very upright. This is a step-through bike which Trek chooses to call a women's bike. It's a steel frame and a design that has been around a long time. The good news is that I have about $1200 in this bike.

I honestly don't know how much is enough, given the weights, the cargo needs, and the hills. I'm around 200# and my hills are nothing for this bike, but I don't live in Seattle.

I wish there was someone who built bikes with the standard DIY parts, whether they did it locally or shipped a finished product. To some extent, Lectric Cycle may have shops that do this. The Trek with a BBSHD would handle anything, but it's a lot more expensive than the Golden Motor Magic Pie.

I would start with steel frame bikes, including the Worksman type bikes. Whatever the bike, you want very good tires, maybe upgrade wheels, things like that. I wish the Trek had better brakes. You can put motors on most bikes. A forum like this can't build the bike you need, just make suggestions.

Trek conversion.png
 

irenewg13

Active Member
Hi

I have spine issues too, I encourage you to read a thread in
General Discussion > Anyone with a spinal fusion?
However, I have to agree with MLB, a trike might be a good choice, at least for now. As ebikes can be heavy and you will have a learning curve (not much) the balance and back basket might be a good choice.
You are already talking with shop owners, go in to a local shop try some, and continue your conversation about accommodations that can be made.
I don't have the weight concern, but I (and others here) have all of the spine issues. Don't let that stop you, there are times when we just want to quit moving, but EBR forums are a great place to learn, and get encouragement!

Happy trails!
 

irenewg13

Active Member
Geezzzz 1 more post!

Top right corner ther is a search, enter the word, weight. I just found other conversations.
 

Berry78

Active Member
Speak of the devil....;)

I didnt notice the grocery thing the first time around. In that case, a trike really is the way to go. You dont absolutely HAVE to use the bus with the bike, do you?

It is possible you need a couple different types of bikes to accomplish everything. Start with a beginners package just to get started, just ride without worrying about groceries or bus. Something that will just get you out the door safely.

Once you are stronger, then upgrade to the work-bike. If the first bike wouldnt work.
 

DisabledWheelz

New Member
The back basket was definitely the main reason for my liking the idea of a trike over another cargo-style bike like the Rad. I don't have balance issues right now, but I suspect I might once I actually start carting anything around. When we decide where to live, ultimately we'll want to live somewhere fairly close to a grocery store. As much as I'd want to ride just to ride, one of my main reasons for wanting to ride would likely be being able to make quick trips to the store for 1-2 bags of groceries every few days rather than having to deal with a car, traffic, possibly paying to park, etc..

I definitely don't absolutely have to be able to use the bus with the bike, it was simply a consideration as far as flexible options. I am mildly concerned about trying to lock a trike up at a bike rack, what with it being extra-wide. On the other hand, the sheer weight of the thing and lack of "cool factor" might be somewhat of a deterrent against stealing it.
 

Berry78

Active Member
I love that you are considering transportation before picking out a place.

It looks like your best 2 options are 2-wheeler with trailer or trike. Go try out both types of bikes and see where you are comfort-wise. If balance isnt an issue now, you'll have more fun on the 2-wheeler (maybe).

It is just so much more convenient to ride a 2-wheeler (bike racks, transporting, storing) that if balance isnt a problem...

Trailers are a great solution for carrying stuff without impacting bike balance. Leave it at home when its not needed.
 

DisabledWheelz

New Member
I love that you are considering transportation before picking out a place.
When you're considering moving to somewhere around Seattle, it seems like the thing to do! They have such a solid bike culture.

Parking anywhere there is crazy expensive if you aren't going to a store that has its own dedicated, free lot. Sure, the grocery stores likely do, but if I just want to run down to the coffee shop, or a neighborhood cafe? Probably not so much.

As someone who currently has a disabled parking tag due to both my spinal problem/use of a rolling walker and the way I can suddenly run out of energy from fibromyalgia I can use on-street parking cheaply, but my understanding is that it can be hard to find and may still be quite a hike from where you actually want to end up. I might actually be more comfortable riding on a bike than walking several blocks! Heat really affects my energy levels and I think I'll have more energy in Seattle than I do in South Texas. With the assist of an electric bicycle, for short trips at least, even for someone with disabilities some sort of bicycle just seems to make sense in a place where parking and traffic are snarled messes if they can find the right work-arounds to make it convenient and painless.
 

Thomas Jaszewski

Well-Known Member
That Biktrix build is about as nice as they get. Especially in the price range. Not all step through frames are created equal. Some are more difficult than others. Georges example is nearer a Mixte frame and I find that a hard step through. Some of the lowest step throughs haven't been converted to eBikes. I'm about to do another front drive with a very low step through frame. Easiest mount ever and a real sweet ride. Unfortunately not a great climber for Seattle hills. But the Biria is without question the easiest mount step through. (Link Removed - No Longer Exists)
 

roshan

Well-Known Member
I'm not sure 400+ lbs of bike and rider should be using rim brakes at Ebike speeds. (pretty sure you shouldn't). Rims heat up dramatically at speed when the brakes are used. Used hard in hilly places they occasionally fail due to heat!
Ebike speeds replicate downhills to a degree. Not to scare, but's its a concern. Drums or Disk brakes would probably be highly advised.
Since no trikes are mass produced, most of them will work with you to setup it up correctly, and some of them do a lot of work with challenged situations. For sure the weight can be dealt with much easier than a 2 wheeler. If you have any balance issues at all, stick with a trike! LOTS of choices!! (bentrideronline.com) at the top of the home page are many many links to individual manufacturers. Lightfoot and others are well knows for very heavy duty setups for larger load ratings.
I doubt any stock setups will pull you up hills with groceries. Gearing would need to be lower than stock for sure.
The new Stunner has disc brakes :)