Help choose a Class 3 commuting bike

fooferdoggie

Well-Known Member
ya north porltand is pretty flat. we live in se and man hills everywhere. Powell butte rocky butte Powell butt. we did the Canby loop a month ago on our tandem it ended up being 3000 feet of climbing in 42 miles lots f up and down. hills behind my house I can get 1000 feet in a mile and a half. we even manage 20% grades on our e tandem for a block or so.
 

Camasonian

Member
Region
USA
ya north porltand is pretty flat. we live in se and man hills everywhere. Powell butte rocky butte Powell butt. we did the Canby loop a month ago on our tandem it ended up being 3000 feet of climbing in 42 miles lots f up and down. hills behind my house I can get 1000 feet in a mile and a half. we even manage 20% grades on our e tandem for a block or so.
Thing is, I can justify a new ebike for me for year-round commuting but I'm not going to buy them for the whole family. So when we do recreational riding with the wife and kids I'll be taking my regular bikes. I have a very nice titanium cyclocross bike with Ultegra components and nice Compass fat tires so my regular bike is already much nicer than what the wife and kids have. They have ordinary Trek "comfort" or "hybrid" bikes. So it really won't be fair to haul out an ebike just for me if we go ride the Banks Vernonia or something.

I had a nice Co-Motion tandem I used to ride the entire Oregon coast some years back with my daughter when she was about 10. Pulling a Yak trailer the entire way. I'm far from being in that kind of shape anymore but would like to get back there. Finally sold the tandem because it was such a hassle to haul around and neither the wife nor kids wanted to ride stoker. They prefer riding on their own bikes.

What is the Canby loop? Is that a specific defined route? My parents live down in Canby so I might go ride down there sometime.
 

Camasonian

Member
Region
USA
We are neighbors then! We live on the top of Prune Hill next to Klickitat Park.

I have intention of doing more exploring of the logging roads above Camas. Looks like a lot of good riding up there.
 

lipjim

New Member
Hello everyone. I'm a long-time cyclist who is looking for my first ebike for commuting. I've got a titanium road bike, a high-end mountain bike, and also a Co-motion tandem in the garage so I'm not new to cycling. And I spent my college years long ago wrenching in a bike shop so I don't mind working on, customizing, and rebuilding bikes. But ebikes are outside of my knowledge base. What I'm thinking is that I want a decent Class 3 bike that is well set up for commuting with lights, fender, racks, and a moderate riding position mid-way between road and cruiser.

This will probably be a strictly commuter and errand bike on suburban streets. When we do bike path riding and recreational riding it is usually with family and I will always bring one of my other bikes. So I don't really care about bike path access and the like. We live at the top of a 500 ft. hill in Camas WA (across the river from Portland) and I teach at 3 different high schools that range in distance from 5 to 11 miles away. It is mostly long flat suburban streets with bike lanes like this: https://goo.gl/maps/NPb2dfB87HwPdGLJ6 but it is the steep hilly neighborhood where I live that kicks my 58-year old butt and keeps me from bike commuting and using a bike for local errands. I can't do a single errand by bike without facing a steep 500 ft. climb back home with lots of ups and downs.

I basically want to get a moderate workout too and from work, get there relatively quickly, be able to carry groceries and light cargo, and not be a sweaty mess every time I bike anywhere from home. Most of my commuting will be on wide suburban avenues where people drive 40+ mph.

The bike that has most caught my eye from digital shopping is the Specialized Turbo Vado 5.0 which is about at my max price range. My local shop that I am inclined to patronize (even though I'll pay more tax in WA) is a Specialized dealer but the only e-bikes they currently have in stock are mountain bikes. But I assume they can order me a Vado. I can drive across the river to Portland and find a bazillion e-bike and regular bike shops that seem to stock about everything (at least in theory). But because I'm fussy I figure I'll probably be ordering up something exactly like I want for delivery sometime in early 2022. One priority is world-class front and rear lighting for winter PNW commuting. I don't want to pay for some junky system on a new bike that I'm going to rip out and spend $500 to replace, Same thing with rack and fenders and tires. And I'll probably want XT level componentry if possible. An internal hub with belt drive would be really nice but I see very few bikes spec'ed that way so I'm resigned to probably getting a traditional drive train.

So, bikes that have caught my eye as possible options are the following.

Specialized Turbo Vado 5.0
Cube Kathmandu Hybrid 45 625
Bulls URBAN EVO 10 DIAMOND
Trek Allant+ 8s
Gazelle Ultimate C380+ HMB
DOSt Kope CVT (like the front rack option and belt drive)

The Bulls LACUBA EVO LITE DIAMOND also looks interesting but it is not Class 3.

I hope to spend the next month trying out some of these bikes if I can manage to find them in stock anywhere. And I welcome any recommendations for additions or subtractions to my initial list.

Some final considerations. The bike will be stored in my suburban garage where it can be charged in place so it will never be carried up stairs and I will pretty much never need to pull off the battery for charging. Also, theft is not a major consideration because it will mainly be parked in secure locations at home and work. And our local groceries don't get much bike traffic so I'm assuming (hoping) not much bike theft traffic.
Oh My...Just recieved my Rize 2021 RX.....Look no further!!!
 

fooferdoggie

Well-Known Member
Thing is, I can justify a new ebike for me for year-round commuting but I'm not going to buy them for the whole family. So when we do recreational riding with the wife and kids I'll be taking my regular bikes. I have a very nice titanium cyclocross bike with Ultegra components and nice Compass fat tires so my regular bike is already much nicer than what the wife and kids have. They have ordinary Trek "comfort" or "hybrid" bikes. So it really won't be fair to haul out an ebike just for me if we go ride the Banks Vernonia or something.

I had a nice Co-Motion tandem I used to ride the entire Oregon coast some years back with my daughter when she was about 10. Pulling a Yak trailer the entire way. I'm far from being in that kind of shape anymore but would like to get back there. Finally sold the tandem because it was such a hassle to haul around and neither the wife nor kids wanted to ride stoker. They prefer riding on their own bikes.

What is the Canby loop? Is that a specific defined route? My parents live down in Canby so I might go ride down there sometime.
ride with gps has it part of their maps. it starts in Oregon City crosses three rivers and the Canby ferry in a loop. about 3000 feet of climbing on the back roads. pretty nice ride. I can give you the export of it if you want. so where is a good location to go in camas that hill I see does not look like much but we can explore.
 

AleksR

Active Member
Riese and Muller Supercharger 2 is the perfect commuting bike. 1000W battery, 28 mph assist, can cover 90 miles in the hilly Bay Area.
 

Camasonian

Member
Region
USA
ride with gps has it part of their maps. it starts in Oregon City crosses three rivers and the Canby ferry in a loop. about 3000 feet of climbing on the back roads. pretty nice ride. I can give you the export of it if you want. so where is a good location to go in camas that hill I see does not look like much but we can explore.
Honestly, biking around Camas is rather disappointing. The rural roads are exceedingly narrow with steep ditches and virtually no shoulder. The streams and rivers in the area mean that there are few through roads that get funneled across the same bridges. So if you get out into the rural Clark County roads north of Camas you end up riding on a lot of roads that look like this that also have heavy fast car traffic due to the fact that they are the only through roads and you are at the complete mercy of the 16 year old teenager on a cell phone coming up behind you at 60 mph: https://goo.gl/maps/RPkSinoZEBjdNXZM8

If you look at the map you will think that Evergreen Highway along the Columbia (the old route 14) looks like a brilliant ride. It is not. The road is completely broken up and there is no shoulder and people also drive fast. Some day it would be awesome to have decent bike lanes along this highway so one could ride safely between Camas and downtown Vancouver but that remains a pipe dream as the millionaires who live along there resist any road improvements that would bring cyclists and pedestrians along front of their secluded mansions. If you try that route you will have a lot of riding that looks like this with old broken up pavement and not even the hint of a shoulder to get out of traffic: https://goo.gl/maps/bv9SHGvxyfRngKEm8

Most of the people I see out cycling are mostly riding on the long suburban streets in East Vancouver that have wide bike lanes. But this is just generic suburban riding, not scenic.

There are probably better roads on the west side along the Columbia between downtown Vancouver and Ridgefield. But frankly, Clark County is pretty disappointing for cycling. The roads were FAR FAR superior for cycling in rural Texas where I used to live in the Waco area. Wide safe shoulders and lots of deserted farm roads for endless riding. There is a century ride every year in Clark County and the routes they follow is probably your best bet for a long ride in Clark County. The Burnt Bridge Multi-use path is the best off-street riding option in Vancouver but it is only about 10 miles.

Here are the routes that the Century rides take


For someone new to Camas, I'd start in downtown Camas which is a very pretty little downtown area with lots of shops and cafes. Make that your start and end point. There is free on-street parking and a good local bike shop. Then ride around Lacamas Lake if you want a shorter ride, or up into the hills above Camas if you want elevation gain. You can drive up into where the logging roads become gravel and then explore as much as you want on trails and closed logging roads if you don't mind some gravel riding This would be a good ride if you want elevation gain and views: https://goo.gl/maps/5hyoXkuReM4dCnb49 Avoid Washougal River Road which is the loop that starts from Camas and loops back to Highway 14 out east of Washougal past Washougal River State Park. It is narrow and heavily traveled by aggressive bozos in big trucks who live out there. It is hardly even safe to drive on the way that locals drive.
 
Last edited:

fooferdoggie

Well-Known Member
good to know. we went out to lackamas lake last winter. but cars were passing ups on double yellow lines on curves. we did the burnt bridge a couple weeks ago. 20 miles each way to get to it and back.
 

Camasonian

Member
Region
USA
good to know. we went out to lackamas lake last winter. but cars were passing ups on double yellow lines on curves. we did the burnt bridge a couple weeks ago. 20 miles each way to get to it and back.
Yep. Clark County is way behind Western Oregon when it comes to bike routes. I would make a day of it and check out some of the rides east of Seattle sometime. There are some new trails on old railroad tracks east of Seattle that I want to do. I'm not sure if it is e-bike legal https://www.evergreenmtb.org/trails/john-wayne-pioneer-trail-iron-horse-state-park or https://parks.state.wa.us/DocumentCenter/View/11679/Palouse-to-Cascades-State-Park-Trail-PDF?bidId=
 

m@Robertson

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
By the way. Every ebike I see comes with platform pedals. I have Shimano SPD pedals on all my current bikes and 3 pairs of different SPD shoes. Do people commonly use clip-in pedals on ebikes or is there some reason I’m unaware of as to why I’d want to keep the platform pedals? I’m assuming that the first thing I will do is throw away the platform pedals and put some sort of SPD pedal on it. It always feels so sloppy for me to ride a bike without clips of some sort. But then I’ve been using toe clips and clip-in pedals for 50 years almost without exception.
You asked about platform pedals earlier. I have the same deal going. Clipped in since the 1970's and had to make do with platforms, after trying and failing to find satisfaction with any form of clip or cleat thanks to the constant in/out of commuter riding. I totally get the sloppiness of having your foot putting itself all over the place. Now you have a whole new thing to think about that formerly was taken care of automatically. Pissed me off no end. With clips/straps/cleats at a light, I used to do trackstands or find a convenient light pole to grab onto, but thats a whole lot more difficult with a heavy ebike vs. a 19 lb-and-change 59cm road bike.

I eventually settled on Pedaling Innovations Catalyst pedals as an ideal (and admittedly huge) solution that worked great, along with FiveTen FreeRiders. If you go to flat platforms, give these weird but they-really-work pedals a look. The arch support alone on my now-old feet was a big secondary bonus.

After a year or three on the Catalysts on various bikes, A few months back I decided I wanted to give clipped pedals another go, specifically because I never got over the lack of placement certainty cleats provide. I chose the Giro Rumble for the shoes as they are stiff but excellent walkers. The pedals, though, were the miracle. Funn Rippers. The miracle was the clip portion of the pedal is spring-loaded so it sits proud, which makes engagement easy and instant. At a stop - especially sitting in a left-lane turn - I'm clipped back in a flash and pedaling hard. I use these on my Bullitt - a cargo bike but also my commuter these days - and not planning on going back, ever. Platforms are still fine for an mtb application but everybody clips in on the road for a reason. Now I've got that back without the negatives.

 

Camasonian

Member
Region
USA
You asked about platform pedals earlier. I have the same deal going. Clipped in since the 1970's and had to make do with platforms, after trying and failing to find satisfaction with any form of clip or cleat thanks to the constant in/out of commuter riding. I totally get the sloppiness of having your foot putting itself all over the place. Now you have a whole new thing to think about that formerly was taken care of automatically. Pissed me off no end. With clips/straps/cleats at a light, I used to do trackstands or find a convenient light pole to grab onto, but thats a whole lot more difficult with a heavy ebike vs. a 19 lb-and-change 59cm road bike.

I eventually settled on Pedaling Innovations Catalyst pedals as an ideal (and admittedly huge) solution that worked great, along with FiveTen FreeRiders. If you go to flat platforms, give these weird but they-really-work pedals a look. The arch support alone on my now-old feet was a big secondary bonus.

After a year or three on the Catalysts on various bikes, A few months back I decided I wanted to give clipped pedals another go, specifically because I never got over the lack of placement certainty cleats provide. I chose the Giro Rumble for the shoes as they are stiff but excellent walkers. The pedals, though, were the miracle. Funn Rippers. The miracle was the clip portion of the pedal is spring-loaded so it sits proud, which makes engagement easy and instant. At a stop - especially sitting in a left-lane turn - I'm clipped back in a flash and pedaling hard. I use these on my Bullitt - a cargo bike but also my commuter these days - and not planning on going back, ever. Platforms are still fine for an mtb application but everybody clips in on the road for a reason. Now I've got that back without the negatives.

My commuter riding is more suburban. I probably only have one or two traffic lights where I'm likely to have to stop if I don't hit green. The rest of the way is mostly wide open suburban streets with 4-way stops at worst. I'll probably go with the Shimano SPD pedals that have platforms on one side and SPD cleats on the opposite side. That way I can either wear my bike shoes (I have 3 pair of SPD shoes) or any other shoe. I'm talking about these

spd pedals.jpg
 

m@Robertson

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
...That way I can either wear my bike shoes (I have 3 pair of SPD shoes) or any other shoe. I'm talking about these
Based on my experience with the big platforms, I would get the biggest flat/SPD combo pedal you can lay your hands on. Thats one thing I'm sold on with flats. A mid-foot position planting the axle closer to your arch is amazing with respect to power delivery. It took a LOT of getting used-to... you'll feel weak and tire easily at first since you are exercising new muscle groups. And once I adapted I was very ambivalent towards it. Then I hopped on a bike with traditional pedals and I realized holy cow this sucks by comparison. You really are able to give a much stronger pedal stroke.

but... I couldn't shake the foot placement being done for me and for my main bike I have gone back. Still, I don't regret having multiple bikes I can do both on. The key is pedals that support both ends of your arch and those are few.
 

Camasonian

Member
Region
USA
Based on my experience with the big platforms, I would get the biggest flat/SPD combo pedal you can lay your hands on. Thats one thing I'm sold on with flats. A mid-foot position planting the axle closer to your arch is amazing with respect to power delivery. It took a LOT of getting used-to... you'll feel weak and tire easily at first since you are exercising new muscle groups. And once I adapted I was very ambivalent towards it. Then I hopped on a bike with traditional pedals and I realized holy cow this sucks by comparison. You really are able to give a much stronger pedal stroke.

but... I couldn't shake the foot placement being done for me and for my main bike I have gone back. Still, I don't regret having multiple bikes I can do both on. The key is pedals that support both ends of your arch and those are few.
Well, part of the support with traditional biking shoes is the rigid sole. Traditional cleated shoes have full length rigid shanks so the size of the platform is irrelevant. I do have one pair of more casual Shimano SPD shoes that have more of a sneaker or walking shoe shank, I guess to make off-bike use easier and they drive me crazy cycling because they lack the support I’m used to. My main cycling shoes are traditional racing shoes with a 100% rigid shank.
 

m@Robertson

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
Well, part of the support with traditional biking shoes is the rigid sole. Traditional cleated shoes have full length rigid shanks so the size of the platform is irrelevant. I do have one pair of more casual Shimano SPD shoes that have more of a sneaker or walking shoe shank, I guess to make off-bike use easier and they drive me crazy cycling because they lack the support I’m used to. My main cycling shoes are traditional racing shoes with a 100% rigid shank.
Yeah I am only talking about rides where you are wearing a walking-capable shoe. I resurrected an oldie-but-goodie pair of Sidi Geniuses from waaaay back in the day for the Bullitt but I don't seem to ride it much in situations where I won't need to do some walking. All of my riding is utility-centric so I tend to be going somewhere, walking around and then coming back. Shopping/cargo bike stuff. I can hobble around on the Sidi's for my commute though, but I have to make myself do it as the Giro's are really excellent middle ground.
 

TrevorB

Active Member
If you like Vado 4.0 SL, consider upgrading to 5.0 EQ. Mudguard and racks are must for commuting and your wrist will appreciate Future Shock 1.5. A suspension seat post would also be useful especially with those skinny tires and higher speeds.
 

Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
Region
Europe
City
Brwinów (PL)
If you like Vado 4.0 SL, consider upgrading to 5.0 EQ. Mudguard and racks are must for commuting and your wrist will appreciate Future Shock 1.5. A suspension seat post would also be useful especially with those skinny tires and higher speeds.
I bought the SL 4.0 EQ, and then added RedShift ShockStop front and rear. Far cheaper than buying the SL 5.0. I have not ridden a FutureShock 1.5 but the vibration dampening action of the RedShift ShockStop stem feels better than of a Suntour XCM32 110 mm suspension fork... Honestly.
 

Cstefan

Member
Region
USA
City
Seattle, WA
Yep. Clark County is way behind Western Oregon when it comes to bike routes. I would make a day of it and check out some of the rides east of Seattle sometime. There are some new trails on old railroad tracks east of Seattle that I want to do. I'm not sure if it is e-bike legal https://www.evergreenmtb.org/trails/john-wayne-pioneer-trail-iron-horse-state-park or https://parks.state.wa.us/DocumentCenter/View/11679/Palouse-to-Cascades-State-Park-Trail-PDF?bidId=
Ebikes are legal on the Iron Horse Trail.