Help: e-bike for NYC commute? (20 mi round trip)

seinberg

Member
Hi all,

I'm a total n00b when it comes to e-bikes and am looking for some advice. Here's my situation: my ride _to_ work is a very pleasant, mostly flat and downhill ride along the West Side Greenway from way uptown Manhattan to around 14th street. It's nearly 10 miles exactly from my apartment to my work. The trouble is, the ride home is kind of soul-crushing :) The first ~9 miles are mildly uphill or flat, but there's a brutal hill starting beneath the GW bridge and up along 181st street (the highest point in Manhattan) that just completely gas me after a long day of work and having already done 19mi of cycling. It's a huge disincentive to ride to work regularly because I end up completely drenched in sweat by the time I get home. For reference, the first few minutes of this YouTube video (where you can hear the dude really struggling and see lots of people walking their bikes) starts about 1/3 of the way up the hill already, and stops short of making it the full climb.

Anyway, I'd like an ebike to help with that hill primarily, but also to reduce the time it takes to commute when needed (currently around 35-45 min each way, depending how hard I push myself). What suggestions do you folks have?

My thinking thus far has been to get a folding e-bike so it's easier to stow in our apartment and charge overnight (though we do have a very crowded bike room I could use) and I can bring it on e.g. Amtrak for when I visit family in suburban Pennsylvania or New Jersey. It doesn't _have_ to be folding, but so far that's mostly what I've been looking at. Let's say budget isn't a major concern, just to hear out the options, but of course in the end I'll weigh cost/benefit of various options. Crucially, it just needs to be able to really make that hill super easy to get up.

My top candidate had been the GoCycle GX (the new quick-folding one), which seems kinda perfect in a lot of ways -- clean, easy fold, nice configurability in app, sleek looking, etc. But with the 300Wh battery, is it going to be able to give me enough juice to get up the hill at the end of the day? I can take it super easy on the way to work and even charge at work if need be, so range doesn't necessarily have to be a constraining factor, but if I'm still going to be a sweaty mess at the end of that hill even with a fully charged battery it's not going to do the trick. Another option is just to get a "regular" ebike, replacing my old Cannondale F4 (~10 years old) that has a Topeak kids seat on the back with an eMTB w/kids seat, and use that for my commutes. Also looked at the e-Brompton, which doesn't actually seem available in the States yet and also is just not as sleek as the GoCycle.

Thanks in advance for the help!
 

dblhelix

Well-Known Member
Hi all,

I'm a total n00b when it comes to e-bikes and am looking for some advice. Here's my situation: my ride _to_ work is a very pleasant, mostly flat and downhill ride along the West Side Greenway from way uptown Manhattan to around 14th street. It's nearly 10 miles exactly from my apartment to my work. The trouble is, the ride home is kind of soul-crushing :) The first ~9 miles are mildly uphill or flat, but there's a brutal hill starting beneath the GW bridge and up along 181st street (the highest point in Manhattan) that just completely gas me after a long day of work and having already done 19mi of cycling. It's a huge disincentive to ride to work regularly because I end up completely drenched in sweat by the time I get home. For reference, the first few minutes of this YouTube video (where you can hear the dude really struggling and see lots of people walking their bikes) starts about 1/3 of the way up the hill already, and stops short of making it the full climb.

Anyway, I'd like an ebike to help with that hill primarily, but also to reduce the time it takes to commute when needed (currently around 35-45 min each way, depending how hard I push myself). What suggestions do you folks have?

My thinking thus far has been to get a folding e-bike so it's easier to stow in our apartment and charge overnight (though we do have a very crowded bike room I could use) and I can bring it on e.g. Amtrak for when I visit family in suburban Pennsylvania or New Jersey. It doesn't _have_ to be folding, but so far that's mostly what I've been looking at. Let's say budget isn't a major concern, just to hear out the options, but of course in the end I'll weigh cost/benefit of various options. Crucially, it just needs to be able to really make that hill super easy to get up.

My top candidate had been the GoCycle GX (the new quick-folding one), which seems kinda perfect in a lot of ways -- clean, easy fold, nice configurability in app, sleek looking, etc. But with the 300Wh battery, is it going to be able to give me enough juice to get up the hill at the end of the day? I can take it super easy on the way to work and even charge at work if need be, so range doesn't necessarily have to be a constraining factor, but if I'm still going to be a sweaty mess at the end of that hill even with a fully charged battery it's not going to do the trick. Another option is just to get a "regular" ebike, replacing my old Cannondale F4 (~10 years old) that has a Topeak kids seat on the back with an eMTB w/kids seat, and use that for my commutes. Also looked at the e-Brompton, which doesn't actually seem available in the States yet and also is just not as sleek as the GoCycle.

Thanks in advance for the help!

I am wondering if Greenpath in Brooklyn will let you take the GX for a long ride/day. Or you could just take it to the hill and see how much battery you drain.
 

seinberg

Member
Thanks, yeah, I actually have a tentative hold on a GX from Greenpath. They're a good 17 miles from my apartment, though, so just getting to the hill would probably nearly kill the battery. It's an option I should consider, though, or a rental for a day or something like that.
 

John from Connecticut

Well-Known Member
Hi all,

I'm a total n00b when it comes to e-bikes and am looking for some advice. Here's my situation: my ride _to_ work is a very pleasant, mostly flat and downhill ride along the West Side Greenway from way uptown Manhattan to around 14th street. It's nearly 10 miles exactly from my apartment to my work. The trouble is, the ride home is kind of soul-crushing :) The first ~9 miles are mildly uphill or flat, but there's a brutal hill starting beneath the GW bridge and up along 181st street (the highest point in Manhattan) that just completely gas me after a long day of work and having already done 19mi of cycling. It's a huge disincentive to ride to work regularly because I end up completely drenched in sweat by the time I get home. For reference, the first few minutes of this YouTube video (where you can hear the dude really struggling and see lots of people walking their bikes) starts about 1/3 of the way up the hill already, and stops short of making it the full climb.

Anyway, I'd like an ebike to help with that hill primarily, but also to reduce the time it takes to commute when needed (currently around 35-45 min each way, depending how hard I push myself). What suggestions do you folks have?

My thinking thus far has been to get a folding e-bike so it's easier to stow in our apartment and charge overnight (though we do have a very crowded bike room I could use) and I can bring it on e.g. Amtrak for when I visit family in suburban Pennsylvania or New Jersey. It doesn't _have_ to be folding, but so far that's mostly what I've been looking at. Let's say budget isn't a major concern, just to hear out the options, but of course in the end I'll weigh cost/benefit of various options. Crucially, it just needs to be able to really make that hill super easy to get up.

My top candidate had been the GoCycle GX (the new quick-folding one), which seems kinda perfect in a lot of ways -- clean, easy fold, nice configurability in app, sleek looking, etc. But with the 300Wh battery, is it going to be able to give me enough juice to get up the hill at the end of the day? I can take it super easy on the way to work and even charge at work if need be, so range doesn't necessarily have to be a constraining factor, but if I'm still going to be a sweaty mess at the end of that hill even with a fully charged battery it's not going to do the trick. Another option is just to get a "regular" ebike, replacing my old Cannondale F4 (~10 years old) that has a Topeak kids seat on the back with an eMTB w/kids seat, and use that for my commutes. Also looked at the e-Brompton, which doesn't actually seem available in the States yet and also is just not as sleek as the GoCycle.

Thanks in advance for the help!

Hello,

Welcome, Since you're in 'The City' : ) and new to eBikes I highly recommend you check out Propel Electric Bikes in Brooklyn https://propelbikes.com/
Chris Nolte and the gang are great. ( I have no connection to Propel bikes )
 

Ebiker01

Well-Known Member
That hill alone needs 100wh in level 3 or 4.
In level 2 maybe 60-70wh , it will still be very easy , will just take longer.
A new bike with 500watts motor and min. 600wh battery. I would go with Haibike/Bh-Easy motion/Bulls.

Crazy Lenny is also a great online store and you would have warranty with local dealer(Greenlath or Propel).
Ny’er here. I did that hill many times going over Gwb. But you can also take the road (instead of the Greenway path) which is not that steep and then go down.
 

seinberg

Member
Thanks for the details! Yeah, the road is less steep but also less direct for me as I live pretty near the exit to the Greenway.

I think I understand your response as saying the gocycle should be fine since it's a 500w motor, but that I'll suck up a bunch of battery power on the ascent with the smaller 300wh battery. Is that right?
 

Ebiker01

Well-Known Member
Thanks for the details! Yeah, the road is less steep but also less direct for me as I live pretty near the exit to the Greenway.

I think I understand your response as saying the gocycle should be fine since it's a 500w motor, but that I'll suck up a bunch of battery power on the ascent with the smaller 300wh battery. Is that right?

Well the Gocycle is much lighter then a regular 55-60lb ebike. That 300wh may be equal to a 450-500wh in terms of efficiency, since it’s weight is much less. Is it 35-40lb ?

But even 500wh is not really enough, many companies have 600wh packs now and higher.
 

seinberg

Member
Yeah, it's around 35lbs. And I'm around 165ish lbs. I'm surprised 500wh isn't enough -- for example, even if I had it fully charged at the bottom of the hill, would it fully drain by the time I got to the top because of how much output is required to climb it? Or are you saying that the 500wh (or equiv) might not be enough for a round trip 20 mi with that hill at the end?

One thing I'm hoping for is a nice light-weight folding e-bike, but in the end I could of course also just scratch that idea and replace my current MTB with a bigger commuter bike. I was looking at, for example, the Gazelle Arroyo C8 HMB Elite, which looks like a decent option. Any other specific bikes? (Though I must say, my heart is still kinda set on the GoCycle, but only if I'd be able to ride from work home on one charge reliably)
 

Ebiker01

Well-Known Member
Yeah, it's around 35lbs. And I'm around 165ish lbs. I'm surprised 500wh isn't enough -- for example, even if I had it fully charged at the bottom of the hill, would it fully drain by the time I got to the top because of how much output is required to climb it? Or are you saying that the 500wh (or equiv) might not be enough for a round trip 20 mi with that hill at the end?

One thing I'm hoping for is a nice light-weight folding e-bike, but in the end I could of course also just scratch that idea and replace my current MTB with a bigger commuter bike. I was looking at, for example, the Gazelle Arroyo C8 HMB Elite, which looks like a decent option. Any other specific bikes? (Though I must say, my heart is still kinda set on the GoCycle, but only if I'd be able to ride from work home on one charge reliably)
Oh is def. enough for the climb, for the 20mile commmute may not be enough !
I would go with the Go cycle since is light weight, it looks like a really good option.
 

dblhelix

Well-Known Member
Yeah, it's around 35lbs. And I'm around 165ish lbs. I'm surprised 500wh isn't enough -- for example, even if I had it fully charged at the bottom of the hill, would it fully drain by the time I got to the top because of how much output is required to climb it? Or are you saying that the 500wh (or equiv) might not be enough for a round trip 20 mi with that hill at the end?

One thing I'm hoping for is a nice light-weight folding e-bike, but in the end I could of course also just scratch that idea and replace my current MTB with a bigger commuter bike. I was looking at, for example, the Gazelle Arroyo C8 HMB Elite, which looks like a decent option. Any other specific bikes? (Though I must say, my heart is still kinda set on the GoCycle, but only if I'd be able to ride from work home on one charge reliably)

500wh should be more than enough, good grief.

If you want the lighter folder, just try it out. Since you’re in decent shape, I wouldn’t be surprised if you make it with the 300wh Gocycle. My hesitation comes from lack of familiarity with the bike and its front hub motor. You can’t lose here bc Propel carries the Gazelle. If you go to Propel, you can try out the Tern Vektron (folder, 49lb) or the RM Tinker (compact, with folding handlebar only, about 60 lb, I’m guessing).

There aren’t many quality bikes in or around 35lbs. If you like it bc you can stow it away/manage it easily, it’s pretty much in a class of its own. If it doesn’t do the job, the door is open to a very large range of bikes in the 50lb-70lb range.
 

seinberg

Member
500wh should be more than enough, good grief.

If you want the lighter folder, just try it out. Since you’re in decent shape, I wouldn’t be surprised if you make it with the 300wh Gocycle. My hesitation comes from lack of familiarity with the bike and its front hub motor. You can’t lose here bc Propel carries the Gazelle. If you go to Propel, you can try out the Tern Vektron (folder, 49lb) or the RM Tinker (compact, with folding handlebar only, about 60 lb, I’m guessing).

There aren’t many quality bikes in or around 35lbs. If you like it bc you can stow it away/manage it easily, it’s pretty much in a class of its own. If it doesn’t do the job, the door is open to a very large range of bikes in the 50lb-70lb range.

Thanks, this is helpful. I guess in the worst case I'll just charge the GoCycle while I'm at work -- I should be able to very safely make the 10 mile journey from work to home, even with that hill at the end, on the GoCycle, right?
 

dblhelix

Well-Known Member
Thanks, this is helpful. I guess in the worst case I'll just charge the GoCycle while I'm at work -- I should be able to very safely make the 10 mile journey from work to home, even with that hill at the end, on the GoCycle, right?

I own a Vektron that I purchased at Propel with a 500wh battery. I could easily manage your commute with 60% of my battery. However, the Vektron is a Bosch mid-drive, while the GoCycle is a (front-wheel?) hub drive. For this reason, I am cautious about a direct comparison.

If you have a charger at home and at work, you’ll be fine. On one charge, I’d definitely give the GoCycle a trial run say from work to home, given that you are practically coasting to work. Remember, you want a little room to spare bc the battery will start to deteriorate after a year or so, but it shouldn’t be dramatic.
 

seinberg

Member
I own a Vektron that I purchased at Propel with a 500wh battery. I could easily manage your commute with 60% of my battery. However, the Vektron is a Bosch mid-drive, while the GoCycle is a (front-wheel?) hub drive. For this reason, I am cautious about a direct comparison.

If you have a charger at home and at work, you’ll be fine. On one charge, I’d definitely give the GoCycle a trial run say from work to home, given that you are practically coasting to work. Remember, you want a little room to spare bc the battery will start to deteriorate after a year or so, but it shouldn’t be dramatic.
Good to know. Are the front wheel hub drives less efficient, or just different enough that it's hard to tell without just empirically evaluating performance?

Incidentally, I had also considered the Vektron S10 - is that what you have? If so, do you find that you fold it regularly? It seemed a bit bigger and bulkier and that I'd be less likely to actually use it as a folding bike, but maybe I'm wrong and should consider that too.
 

dblhelix

Well-Known Member
Good to know. Are the front wheel hub drives less efficient, or just different enough that it's hard to tell without just empirically evaluating performance?

Incidentally, I had also considered the Vektron S10 - is that what you have? If so, do you find that you fold it regularly? It seemed a bit bigger and bulkier and that I'd be less likely to actually use it as a folding bike, but maybe I'm wrong and should consider that too.

This might be helpful:
https://electricbikereview.com/forums/threads/gocycle-owner-from-chicago.26987/

I would still test ride it.

Yes, I own the S10, and your suspicions are correct. I only fold it when I have to — in a busy building, and so on. I’ve put it in the trunk of a car a few times, and it’s nice not to have to depend on racks. I have found it most useful in situations where I am apprehensive about leaving an ebike outside. I usually can get permission to stow it away inside, folded, with no chance of that happening with a full-size bike. But it is definitely bulkier and heavier than the GoCycle. As long as you get a comparable warranty (2 yr), i’d easily call out the GoCycle as the better folder. The upside with the Vektron is the Bosch reliability and larger battery. Not saying the GoCycle is unreliable, but with the smaller user base, it’s harder to assess.

The issue of mid-drives vs hubs on hills qualifies as a religious war that I stay out of as I only have owned mid-drives. People have strong opinions. We are all different in terms of expectations, size, level of fitness, so I’d eat the Uber or whatever and ride it on your route to determine whether it meets your needs.
 

harryS

Well-Known Member
Much as I like the portability of the Gocycle, now that I see it's only a 22V battery sporting a direct drive motor in front, I can see how the Vektron will outperform it on a hill.

You just have to maybe rent one and try it
.
My electric folders use geared rear motors, 36V and 22 A controllers means close to 800W at peak, and I'm pretty sure that hill is no issue either. We've gone up hills where other riders are walking.
 

seinberg

Member
Thanks for the perspective. I'm not so much concerned that the Vektron will outperform it as I am that the GoCycle will be at all capable of getting up the hill without me having to help so much that I'm a sweaty mess at the end.

Are you suggesting it may not be able to even do that? I've definitely test ridden a GoCycle twice -- one around the East Village for a few minutes and once in Palo Alto. Both were pretty flat though, so it's not a good test. I suppose I should just condition my purchase on testing it beforehand.
 

Nabs

New Member
I recently test rode a Go Cycle. It's fantastic. You really feel like it gives you a kick. I am also worried about the battery though. Mostly flat, and approximately 19miles round trip.
 

seinberg

Member
I recently test rode a Go Cycle. It's fantastic. You really feel like it gives you a kick. I am also worried about the battery though. Mostly flat, and approximately 19miles round trip.

Wow. That's disappointing. What level of assist were you using? Was it aggressive? Did you use throttle only? And was this the new GX or one of the older bikes?
 

seinberg

Member
This might be helpful:
https://electricbikereview.com/forums/threads/gocycle-owner-from-chicago.26987/

I would still test ride it.

Yes, I own the S10, and your suspicions are correct. I only fold it when I have to — in a busy building, and so on. I’ve put it in the trunk of a car a few times, and it’s nice not to have to depend on racks. I have found it most useful in situations where I am apprehensive about leaving an ebike outside. I usually can get permission to stow it away inside, folded, with no chance of that happening with a full-size bike. But it is definitely bulkier and heavier than the GoCycle. As long as you get a comparable warranty (2 yr), i’d easily call out the GoCycle as the better folder. The upside with the Vektron is the Bosch reliability and larger battery. Not saying the GoCycle is unreliable, but with the smaller user base, it’s harder to assess.

The issue of mid-drives vs hubs on hills qualifies as a religious war that I stay out of as I only have owned mid-drives. People have strong opinions. We are all different in terms of expectations, size, level of fitness, so I’d eat the Uber or whatever and ride it on your route to determine whether it meets your needs.

Yeah, I think I'll take this advice and just Uber to where I need to be to start the test ride and then just do it. Otherwise it's just a bunch of speculation.

I did start looking at a bunch of other bikes that are not folding in the interim and some are pretty appealing. It's hard to get past the weight though. But if you or others here have suggestions on ones to look at I'm all ears.
 

TaraBara

Member
Have you considered the Piaggio? It is made by Vespa. It has a powerful motor and the anti-theft system is really cutting edge.
 
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