Help choosing mid-drive: hauling up rural gravel hills

mudkraut

New Member
Hello,

I live in Chimacum, WA, which is south of Port Townsend, across the water from Seattle. It's wet, hilly, and I live in a rural area of farms and forest land where things are far apart, and there are many logging roads, gravel roads, and steep hills.

I am currently borrowing a real wheel/ hub drive from a friend and I don't like the way it handles or how heavy the bike is. I was able to test drive a mid-drive/ crank drive and I love the way those handle. Like a bike! With extra power. I know I want a Bosc motor with the "speed" option --- not for the speed, but for the extra power getting up hills. Anything with the extra power boost. The only ebike store near me has a diagnostic reader for Bosc drives so that's why I want to stick with Bosc, mainly for maintenance support.

I am looking for a bike that can haul stuff, and kids.

I have never biked with a cargo bike before. I like them in theory, but I worry they're awkward to handle. Traffic out here is very light, I live in a very rural area, so my main concern is handling the bike itself with ease.

For kids, probably best to plan on using either of these two options:
* any bike I choose + burley trailer
* or an xtracycle style bike
* any other options I should consider??

My main routes at this time include gravel roads, logging roads, paved roads, <- a big hill on each of these, and a paved bike path. I think a trailer could handle all of that?


The mid-drive I test rode last week was at the only ebike store my town has: Trek. we landed on the Allant 7s, but that was mostly based on the limited stock they had. Not especially designed to be a cargo bike, but does have a rack, could have one child post, and haul a trailer. It had extra suspension/shocks on the front handlebars. I liked the way the bike handled, but I did wonder if there were more options I should consider -- then.... the internet delivers an overwhelming amount of options.


I was looking at the xtracycle. It does have a longer 'tail', cargo bike style, but I love how much it can hold, and ready for two kids - awesome.

Another friend of mine has a Tern GSD S00 which is a cool cargo bike, but I don't necessarily need a folding bike.

I'm sure there's even more options, and I'm open to hearing more, but the vast ocean of internet has been too overwhelming.

What other options should I be considering?

Mostly, mountain bike trails are just fun to use as shortcuts, and wouldn't be necessary terrain, although, it would be nice if I had a light load (only panniers) to be able to go on trails without having to have a whole other bike. Nothing for sport, just for variety.



On Using Trailers to Haul:

My friend made this trailer, oh, about eight years ago. I've used it on my old road bike and it can haul a lot of weight. I've never measured or tried to test its limits, but easily hundreds of pounds. I've loaded building materials, firewood, groceries.... It's primarily made out of bent aluminum piping. So, for very large loads, I can continue to use this one and stick to the main roads, though the commute may be longer in miles that way. The only modification I had to make to it to fit the ebike I've been borrowing is drill a wider hole in the trailer hitch because the axle on the ebike was bigger than my old road bike axle.

Using logging roads --- which are definitely bumpy terrain, but at least the roads are wide --- are sort of necessary, or I start to really add miles. And there's no way to avoid gravel roads, a lot of long neighborhood driveways around here are gravel, mine is gravel, my friends', the parking lot where I work.... but I've gone up and down them on the ebike I've been borrowing and it handles it all quite well. I haven't tried the ebike with this trailer yet but my land mate did just cut a wide path through the woods to give it a try.


biketrailer.jpg






It's sounding to me from only a tiny bit of research, and consulting with friends, that hauling kids in a smaller trailer would be the way to go if I didn't go with the xtracycle or a style like it. So I could keep this trailer for very large loads, and have another one for hauling kiddos.

I like the extracycle because it keeps the weight over the wheel, and it's ready to go to haul plenty of groceries etc. without a trailer.... but again, my concern is ease of handling, I've never tried a cargo bike before. I need to find a way to test ride one.... I'm a small person (115 lbs) and I worry about getting off-balanced.



Thanks for listening and offering your wisdom!
 
Last edited:

vincent

Well-Known Member
I dont know much about cargo bikes but being small i think the tern might be a good option, it is not a true folder, looks like just the handlebars turn and fold down, the frame is solid

hopefully some others with better info on cargo bikes and hauling trailers will chime in
 

indianajo

Well-Known Member
I'm medium size, 68", 170 lb. I ride a yubabikes bodaboda cargo bike shown left. I find it light & nimble, but I came to it from a steel Pacific MTB with steel baskets that weighed more. I carry up to 80 lb supplies, mostly in the bags so the weight is low. If I carry something like an air conditioner or a pickup tire up high, yes, getting started is a bit of a nuisance. Once going it feels fine. I have the motor & battery hung off the front, to better balance the package. You can just barely turn U-one of these 180 deg in one lane, but it is a trick.
I find 26" or bigger tires useful off road. My summer camp driveway is 800 yards, very rutted, bricks in it to stop the rainnwater running, knee high johnson grass. I think 20" tires would be very rough. You can't get a suspension with a stretch frame cargo bike. With kids, yuba has mondo with 26" front tire & 20" rear tires so the kid car seats are easier to load. Be sure to get the double leg stand, that makes it stand up better while loading.
Xtracycle is respectable, also kona ute, R&M, Magnum, M2S. Pedego is expensive. There is a 24" tire cargo bike the blix packa. Might be better for the small while still smoothing out the potholes. Be sure to protect the rear wheel from pinch of fingers. Yuba comes with the spoke cover standard.
There is a lot of wind here now, and stretch frame keeps my drag profile within reason. I'm afraid a front bucket bike or a wide trailer would slow my average speed down unpowered below 5 mph, into a headwind. I can manage 8-9 now without power, until headwind goes over 12 mph.
BTW, I use a 1200 W geared hub motor to get me up the hills. It will start me & 80 lb supplies, 330 lb gross, on a 15% grade, accelerating up to 6 mph. It will climb 15% at up to 12 mph if I hit the grade with momentum from the previous downhill. 15% grade is 7/8" rise in 6", measured with a level & a ruler. Actual power on the ground at 6 mph is 310 W btw. The other 900 W comes out as heat.
Happy shopping.
 
Last edited:

FlatSix911

Well-Known Member
Hello,

I live in Chimacum, WA, which is south of Port Townsend, across the water from Seattle. It's wet, hilly, and I live in a rural area of farms and forest land where things are far apart, and there are many logging roads, gravel roads, and steep hills.

I am currently borrowing a real wheel/ hub drive from a friend and I don't like the way it handles or how heavy the bike is. I was able to test drive a mid-drive/ crank drive and I love the way those handle. Like a bike!

With extra power. I know I want a Bosc motor with the "speed" option --- not for the speed, but for the extra power getting up hills. Anything with the extra power boost.

The only ebike store near me has a diagnostic reader for Bosc drives so that's why I want to stick with Bosc, mainly for maintenance support.

I am looking for a bike that can haul stuff, and kids.

I have never biked with a cargo bike before. I like them in theory, but I worry they're awkward to handle. Traffic out here is very light, I live in a very rural area, so my main concern is handling the bike itself with ease.

For kids, probably best to plan on using either of these two options:
* any bike I choose + burley trailer
* or an xtracycle style bike
* any other options I should consider??

My main routes at this time include gravel roads, logging roads, paved roads, <- a big hill on each of these, and a paved bike path. I think a trailer could handle all of that?

The mid-drive I test rode last week was at the only ebike store my town has: Trek. we landed on the Allant 7s, but that was mostly based on the limited stock they had. Not especially designed to be a cargo bike, but does have a rack, could have one child post, and haul a trailer. It had extra suspension/shocks on the front handlebars. I liked the way the bike handled, but I did wonder if there were more options I should consider -- then.... the internet delivers an overwhelming amount of options.

I was looking at the xtracycle. It does have a longer 'tail', cargo bike style, but I love how much it can hold, and ready for two kids - awesome.

Another friend of mine has a Tern GSD S00 which is a cool cargo bike, but I don't necessarily need a folding bike.

I'm sure there's even more options, and I'm open to hearing more, but the vast ocean of internet has been too overwhelming.

What other options should I be considering?

Mostly, mountain bike trails are just fun to use as shortcuts, and wouldn't be necessary terrain, although, it would be nice if I had a light load (only panniers) to be able to go on trails without having to have a whole other bike. Nothing for sport, just for variety.

On Using Trailers to Haul:

My friend made this trailer, oh, about eight years ago. I've used it on my old road bike and it can haul a lot of weight. I've never measured or tried to test its limits, but easily hundreds of pounds. I've loaded building materials, firewood, groceries.... It's primarily made out of bent aluminum piping. So, for very large loads, I can continue to use this one and stick to the main roads, though the commute may be longer in miles that way. The only modification I had to make to it to fit the ebike I've been borrowing is drill a wider hole in the trailer hitch because the axle on the ebike was bigger than my old road bike axle.

Using logging roads --- which are definitely bumpy terrain, but at least the roads are wide --- are sort of necessary, or I start to really add miles. And there's no way to avoid gravel roads, a lot of long neighborhood driveways around here are gravel, mine is gravel, my friends', the parking lot where I work.... but I've gone up and down them on the ebike I've been borrowing and it handles it all quite well. I haven't tried the ebike with this trailer yet but my land mate did just cut a wide path through the woods to give it a try.

It's sounding to me from only a tiny bit of research, and consulting with friends, that hauling kids in a smaller trailer would be the way to go if I didn't go with the xtracycle or a style like it. So I could keep this trailer for very large loads, and have another one for hauling kiddos.

I like the extracycle because it keeps the weight over the wheel, and it's ready to go to haul plenty of groceries etc. without a trailer.... but again, my concern is ease of handling, I've never tried a cargo bike before. I need to find a way to test ride one.... I'm a small person (115 lbs) and I worry about getting off-balanced.

Thanks for listening and offering your wisdom!

Welcome to EBR.

I just wanted to note that the Class 3, 28mph speed motors do not provide additional power for climbing, just a higher speed limit cutoff.

What I would recommend is looking for a mid-drive motor system that provides additional torque for climbing steep grades.

Take a look at the EBR list of Best cargo bikes:




Xtracycle Edgerunner eSwoop Review
  • MSRP: $4,497
  • MODEL YEAR: 2019
  • XTRACYCLE REVIEWS
  • ELECTRIC CARGO BIKE REVIEWS
  • A long-tailed cargo bike that comes in both a step-through and a high-step frame, both very strong, purpose built, versatile, and smooth, optional Bosch CX or Bosch Speed motor, as well as tons of available accessories. The bike features a lot of thoughtful touches like battery integrated lights, optional dual battery…...
    Read Review

Magnum Payload Review
A long-tail speed pedelec cargo ebike from Magnum that is also feature rich with fenders, rear long rack, front cargo basket, suspension seat post, tool-free adjustable stem, competitively priced at just $2,499, and uses a powerful drivetrain and electrical system. Driven by a powerful Das-Kit rear hub-drive motor that is rated at a 500 watts,…...
 

ChezCheese:)

Well-Known Member
Take a trip to Seattle and hit as many ebike shops as you can. Try as many different models as you can. That is the only way to know how a bike feels. Go for the highest torque. Torque is what you need to get up hills, not a higher assist cutoff.