Help choosing...knowledge challenge! : )

BenS

New Member
Hi everyone,
I've been researching e-bikes for months, and decided to get input from this great community regarding my short list. Ultimately, I'm on my own, but some of you may enjoy helping me think through these parameters.

I have a morning newspaper route. I'd like to maximize the life of my car by not using it on the route every day. If the delivery objective doesn't work, I'll still have a cool e-bike to ride.

I'm aware of the massive undertaking I'm suggesting; riding up to 22 miles per morning, in darkness at least half of the time, with cargo, and stopping and starting without falling. However, I'm encouraged by the thousands of posties all over the world who ride regular-powered, geared bikes and carry more than I'm proposing. I anticipate a learning curve, lots of adjustments, and a few weeks of misery as I build my endurance. I can use my car whenever I choose; days when the papers are too unwieldy, bad road conditions, or if I feel out of sorts.
Taking my physical fitness into consideration, and the multi-tasking nature of the ride, the bike needs to bear 50% of the propulsion.
Ideally, the bike must be very simple to operate, because I will have my hands full simply riding and delivering. I'm not an experienced cyclist, and not very familiar with shifting. I understand low/high gears, but translating intellectual knowledge into practical application will be another hurdle.
I haven't test ridden any e-bikes yet. There are only a few dealers within driving distance for me, as I'm in north central Ohio, between Cleveland and Columbus. I want a short list before I travel to dealers.
My current short list, in order of preference:
e-Joe Epik Lite
- according to Court's review, the Epik will carry up to 300#
- I can use my car and the bike. I drive a Honda Fit, so it would be easy to stick the bike in the car.
- small diameter wheels for hill climbs and low COG
- 1,500 charge cycles and one year warranty
iGo Metro
- throttle on the left!
- front rack
- adjustable stem
- value for the price
- foreseen problem - not enough power to carry up to 280#?
iZip E3 Metro 2013 (used or on sale)
- all kinds of features I love, but tough to find within my budget


Maximum money outlay, bike and gear: $2000
Cargo:
225 newspapers. Weight (estimated) is from 40-70 lbs. Total weight (estimate with me, papers, bags and racks) would be approximately 280#, to err on the side of caution. Quite a load.
My preference is to carry the papers in a top box on the rear rack, and some in a front rack which I can reload as I progress. Depending on the news day, I could conceivably carry more papers in panniers on a rear rack if the bike allows.
Foreseen problems:
Reloading - I will have to reload from each pannier equally, so I'd like to reload no more than twice.
Kickstand - must be sufficient to stabilize the bike while I arrange and rearrange the load.

Distance/Range and terrain:
Approximately 22 miles. I deliver 225 papers, 5 days/week, in all weather.
Right Hand (RH) deliveries are preferable for safety, and to avoid rousting the police and State Patrols.
The terrain is as mixed as it gets. I estimate my average speed would be 11-11.5 mph (some stretches I can really make time), which conveniently is the average speed of Google's bicycle routing on Maps.
There are two significant 30 degree hill climbs at least 70ft each.
My size:
I'm almost 5'3", and 190#.
No, the height is not a typo.

The following are features I've identified as needs:
Low COG
Step-through frame
30+ mile range minimum (to account for hilly terrain and getting home after route)
A front rack, or ability to mount something on the front to carry newspapers
Good "center stand", stabilizer, whatever you want to call it.
Rear rack or standard-sized tubing and braze ons for add on rack
Pre-slimed or very durable tires, preferably on the fat side for sure-footedness on berms.

I appreciate any and all feedback. Thanks for tolerating a long post.
 
Hi Ben,
You may want to consider an easy motion ebike by BH. The neo volt is their folding 20" rim bike and the Eco Evo Lite (step through 26" rim) is another to consider. The neo Volt retails for $1799 and the Eco Evo Lite for $2399…though we can get you on that bike right about at your budget. If you ask around, I think you will find that BH Easy Motion ebikes are a favorite among people who sell them. NOt only are they great bikes, but the company really stands behind them…some companies may claim a warranty but not really back them well. BH ebikes has torque sensor pedal assist (high end like Stromer…which are great for hill climbing) as well as throttles (unlike Stromer). They are some of the best value bikes out there. Both the Volt and Eco Evo Lite have batteries built into the frame and rear racks…as well as a lot of extras. Since you plan to use it on a daily basis I would like to see you in a VERY reliable bike….plus I really think they are priced well. We are coated in the midwest and opening a new shop next spring. We are just launching our online sales site, you can find the Easy Motion Bikes here: If you want to call me I would be happy to help or answer any questions, even if you want to keep shopping…no problem. 800-886-8852. Another we sell is the Busettii 40 mile folding ebike. As they state they are built for speed and distance and can handle loads 325 lbs. Having said that, I feel more confident recommending BH for reliability. Please feel free to reach out at any time. I look forward to reading about your ebike riding adventures soon. Cheers!
 

Clark

Member
@BenS, look up LongIslandElectricBikes, they have 2014 Izip E3 Metro
for $2380, listen to Brambor, this time of year you should be able to find
good deals on 2014's, next years models are on their way. Don't be afraid to haggle for a better price. Also scroll through Court's review's for cargo bikes. Be careful about TESTING a bike out first, with your height you need to try before you buy.

Clark
 
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calvin

Active Member
Battery technology is not there yet for the weight and distance and loads you have. I have a bike trailer and let me tell you the extra weight when it is fully loaded quickly drains the battery down. Test it out before you buy.
 
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BenS

New Member
Thanks, everyone, for your feedback. I'm going to get some real weight calculations this week, because I think my estimate is too high...possibly way too high. I just bought softener salt in 40# bags, and laughingly thought "these are way heavier than newspaper bundles".
NOt only are they great bikes, but the company really stands behind them…some companies may claim a warranty but not really back them well....
Since you plan to use it on a daily basis I would like to see you in a VERY reliable bike...
Chicagoland, thanks for the suggestions. First, I see that you do sell one of the three shortlisted bikes I mentioned, the iZip E3 Metro, but you brought three different bikes into the conversation without mentioning the iZip. The comparable bike, the Eco Lite, is nice, but the iZip Metro has:
- a 500w motor
- throttle and pedal assist on demand (not either/or)
- disc brakes, a double-sided kickstand, and a quick-release rear hub
Reliability is a huge concern. I have heard good things about Currie's reliability and customer service, and frankly, there are a couple iZip dealers within driving distance (Cleveland, Sugar Creek). However, I'm curious if you have experiences to relate regarding the reliability of the iZip Metro.

Shouldn't he be rather looking for a cargo ebike to store 70lbs of newspapers ?

The ElMundo retails for $3000 but who's to say you can't wheel and deal? :)
Brambor: you're right, a cargo bike is appropriate. If I go with a folding bike, it will be to split my route and do half (the rural part) with my car, and pull the folding bike out for the suburban portion. I guess you don't consider the iZip Metro to be a "real" cargo bike. That's fair, and I defer to your knowledge, but the iZip is more flexible for casual riding. I think I've read/watched every single review Court has uploaded, and I did see the elMundo. I thought it was awesome, and more than capable, but I eliminated it due to price. Thanks for bringing it up again...it is worth some Craigslist scouring to see if I can find one. ;)

@BenS, look up LongIslandElectricBikes, they have 2014 Izip E3 Metro
for $2380, listen to Brambor, this time of year you should be able to find
good deals on 2014's, next years models are on their way. Don't be afraid to haggle for a better price. Also scroll through Court's review's for cargo bikes. Be careful about TESTING a bike out first, with your height you need to try before you buy.

Clark
Clark, thanks for the tip, I'll check out that deal! I'm going to call the couple Currie dealers within driving distance tomorrow and see if they have a Metro I can try out. If they are too proud of theirs, I'll give Long Island guys a call and see what would be involved in a long-distance purchase.

Traffic is more and more a concern on the rural section of my route. Frankly, my enthusiasm for doing that section by bicycle is waning with every vehicle that passes me on hills, and angrily whips around me and guns it. People are bat **** crazy at that time of morning (5a-6:30a) and not amused by any impediment to their light speed drive to work.
I think I have a very difficult decision to make: get a regular-sized bike that is capable of carrying the cargo and go for it....
OR, get a folder, be safe(r), and have the flexibility to shove the bike in my hatchback and go anywhere.
Need to ride a folder and a cargo, and I'm sure the right decision will come to me.
 

BenS

New Member
Battery technology is not there yet for the weight and distance loads you have. I have a bike trailer and let me tell you the extra weight when it is fully loaded quickly drains the battery down. Test it out before you buy.
Calvin, you're definitely right about being certain that I have the range and power that I need. This level of expenditure is no joke for me, so I will definitely be cautious. That's why I'm here...getting feedback from those who are testing the limits of these bikes everyday.
Again, I'm going to get some accurate weights for the newspaper bundles this week...I think I exaggerated.

Regarding your statement that this endeavor may simply be impossible with the current technology, I hope you are wrong. I really want to do this, as long as I can stay within budget and stay safe. In my internet browsing, I've run into quite a few impressive e-bikes hauling loads (like the German postie bikes) but I acknowledge that Europe gets better stuff than we get. I ride motorcycles, so I'm used to drooling over bikes we can't get. :rolleyes:
 
Hey Ben,

Nothing wrong with the IZIP Metro at all. Currie is a great company that will back there products. Budget was the only consideration with that…not sure it can be done with shipping at your price but with the new models coming soon it may be possible. Send me a PM and I will check it out if you like.

Another to think about is the Juiced Rider OKD….if you can find a deal. I have risen them and may not be the best balanced bike, but it's a beast. HUGE battery, low step made for carry "stuff". Kinda like the tug-boat of ebikes. :D

Here's Court's review of it:
 

BenS

New Member
Nothing wrong with the IZIP Metro at all. Currie is a great company that will back there products. Budget was the only consideration with that…not sure it can be done with shipping at your price but with the new models coming soon it may be possible. Send me a PM and I will check it out if you like.
Thanks for being on the ball with my budget limitations...I keep forgetting that the 2014 iZip Metro retails for $2800. So many bikes have floated through my mental space. If I can ride one somewhere, and it lives up to my expectations, I will consider you when I start dealing. I appreciate your attention and forthright answers.

to think about is the Juiced Rider OKD….if you can find a deal. I have risen them and may not be the best balanced bike, but it's a beast. HUGE battery, low step made for carry "stuff". Kinda like the tug-boat of ebikes. :D
That is a cool bike. "Tugboat" is a good comparison.
I will put it on the "maybe if I find the right deal" list, along with the elMundo that Brambor suggested. At used prices and treated well, I'm sure either bike would take all that I could throw at it.
 

BenS

New Member
Now there is another long tail cargo for sale out here, like the one I messaged you as an example to look for on CL. Wish I could pick it up and ride it to you! -S
Daaaaggg...that is awesome!
That would be a nice little ride for ya, haha.
I know a truck driver, and I'm going to put a bug in his ear about my e-bike shopping. He may know of a driver who would be willing to grab a bike and bring it back for me for some extra spending money. My dad used to do that for people every now and then; he'd just strap the item to the back of the cab. :cool:
 

BenS

New Member
Thanks again folks, for helping me navigate my unusual circumstances.
Here's an update, not to bore you, but to put the info out there and add to the knowledge base of other noobs like me.

First, I've been weighing the newspapers this week. The max weight is more like 50# (I had said 70#). The best way to do the route is get the densest neighborhoods done first. Using this routing, the cargo is down to 25# after 8 miles, which is not a "big" load at all! :)

Informed by my first eBike ride yesterday, my requirements have changed.
I rode a Stromer St1 Elite, and these are the updates to my needs:
- I don't think I MUST have a throttle. Even though it would be nice to blip it to get moving again, I didn't have any trouble moving that slightly heavy
bike from a standstill. The point of delivering is to "stop" as infrequently as possible. :D
- I'm not as rigid on keeping the gears to a minimum. I can see the advantages to having more gears, and I did better shifting than I used to, which
was a surprise. (Also rode the Platinum) My aversion was a little reactionary; I don't have to use the gears, but the option is nice.
- I'm widening my gaze to include slightly more aggressive styles. While a relatively upright position will be an advantage for delivering on the fly,
I was comfortable on the Stromer because I rode the smaller frame size bike (16.5") I also appreciated the more minimalist seat, and think
a larger seat would get in the way and chafe more than keep me comfortable. (Good point by Court in a review; I always thought bigger is better)

Maybe I'll revolutionize the newspaper circulation industry! Lol