Help in choosing the right E bike

jfr1310

New Member
Looking to purchase my first electric bike. I am 75 years old an am 5 foot 10 inches tall and weight 250 lbs. I plan to do mostly city riding or light trails. I live in an area with fair amount of hills that I would not be able to ride with a regular bike. I was trying to do my homework on EBR and came up with the Rad Rover, Rad City step through Dost step through. I think that I would like a class 2 or class3 bike that is relatively upright, comfortable, and able to go up hills with minimal effort. My budget is not critical, but would not like to spend more the $ 3,000 and would prefer to spend less if the advantages are really not worth the extra money. Thank you. JFR 1310
 

AHicks

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Snow Bird - Summer S.E. Michigan, Winter Gulf Coast North Central Fl.
When you are talking hills, you need to pay attention to the drive type on any prospective bikes. The direct drive rear hubs, like the one used on the RAD City, provide only marginal hill climbing power. For that reason, I would NOT recommend it, or any other bike with a direct drive rear hub.

The Rover uses a gear driven rear hub that provides dramatically more hill climbing power, and they are nearly as efficient as the City when it comes to battery mileage.

Point here is that when you see the term "rear hub" you want to read further to see WHAT KIND of rear hub, as they are not created equal! For hills, the gear driven rear hub is the better plan.

The other thing I would have on my "list" would be a throttle, for it's ability to get the bike moving from a stop while you are getting your balance. They're a huge bonus when faced with getting the bike moving on an up hill start....
 

PatriciaK

Well-Known Member
I would recommend riding as many bikes as you can, both geared hub and mid-drive, with and without throttle, under conditions as close as possible to those you'll be riding, before making your decision. Some folks think they want a throttle when first thinking about a bike, but find when they ride that it's not critical. Others find they really, really, really want the throttle.

Also, if you end up drawn to a direct seller bike, consider where you can get assembly and ongoing work done, if you don't plan on doing it yourself. In that case, a good local shop is a must.
 

jfr1310

New Member
Thank you for your reply. I live in the suburban Philadelphia area and there does not seem to be a lot of bike shops that are nearby but there are a few. The shops that are nearby seem to carry trek bicycles, That seem to be a bit more expensive and seem to be equipped with motors and batteries that are of lower wattage land some of the online companies The trek verve 3+ which seem to fit my needs but comes with a 500 W battery rather than 750 and the hub motor Seems to be smaller than the one that comes on the dose to step through which is also a bit less expensive. Am I looking at the wrong specifications
 

PatriciaK

Well-Known Member
Don't go just by W. My bike has a 400wh battery, and does just great. The charge lasts forever, and I live and ride in a hilly area, so I use the assist often.
 

AHicks

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Snow Bird - Summer S.E. Michigan, Winter Gulf Coast North Central Fl.
A geared rear hub has a 5:1 gear ratio - which is why they'll climb better than a direct drive.

With a mid drive, there are many more gear ratios available, which often means you don't need as big a motor. Smaller motor means less battery required (making for a lighter bike as well). The down side is, you need to be able and willing to keep the bike in the right gear for the immediate conditions, so it's not all roses, but you can get away with less motor and battery pretty easily.

Also, for those with no willing or otherwise viable shop near by, there are mobile bike services. One, Velofix, has a pretty decent reputation. You can ship your new bike to them diect, they'll assemble it and check it out, then deliver it to your door (at your expense). RAD and some others will pay them for warranty work.
 

Islander1

New Member
Hello. We are basically at the same place looking for our first ebike. Although you have a few years on me, I have a painful compound back injury that limits my abilities.

The Rad bikes are appealing but I scratched it from my short list. You may notice that people who have these bikes are often looking for an upgrade. When the do, it's a major improvement to what they had. Also seems like they are not always as transparent to what their motors are doing.

Look at these ebikes. Dose (you are already on it), Juiced, Ride1Up and Evelo. My budget has it down to Dose and Juiced. I am not able to pull the trigger yet so I'm still waiting.

Shoot for a 750w motor, Mid drive or a hub drive you trust is being clear about their specs. You do not need more than that. Of coarse your budget. I think you would be happy with any of the suggestions above.

I'm not an electrical engineer. So I learned a lot from research. One point was the controller. A part that is not talked about much. The controller has to have the capacity to push electrons around. The amps of the controller should be at least 20-25 amp range. More is better. As you already know also look at the torque, amper hours (Ah) of the motor and battery.

So far good advice from others above. You definitely want a throttle. ALWAYS use your gears for the job at hand. Get a good helmet and use it.

PLEASE keep us posted on what you choose and how it's going. I was cautioned about this type of ebike. They are powerful, use caution until you get to know it. Have fun!

Good luck.
.
 

Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
Region
Europe
City
Brwinów (PL)
I'm not an electrical engineer. So I learned a lot from research. One point was the controller. A part that is not talked about much. The controller has to have the capacity to push electrons around. The amps of the controller should be at least 20-25 amp range. More is better. As you already know also look at the torque, amper hours (Ah) of the motor and battery.
People who buy mid-drive motor e-bikes from respected brands never need to make such considerations because the manufacturer provides an integrated solution.
The TREK Verve+ 3 is a good example of such integrated solution. The mid-drive motor gives the "oomph!" to climb the hills easily even with the low 250 W nominal motor power. The U.S. Class 1 mid-drive e-bike is very economical on the battery, and such a bike is lightweight compared to the 750 W ones, especially those with the hub-drive and throttle (a hub-drive motor requires far more power and a heavier battery to climb the same hill). Class 3 e-bikes have shorter range on the same size battery as the higher speed means substantial increase in the air drag which sucks the battery fast.

Regarding the battery size expressed in Wh. A 500 Wh battery with a 250 W mid-drive motor, Class 1 is good for 45-50 miles for an average rider. If more range is needed or there are many steep hills and/or strong headwind, the Trek Verve+ 3 offers possibility to buy the 500 W Range Boost (additional battery) making the range very impressive.

With classy e-bikes such as the Verve+, you get the assistance from your LBS, which is very important as e-bikes are complicated and sometimes break.
 

Islander1

New Member
I forgot something. You will want a throttle and not all have them. Look closely. Honorable mention to Bolton Ebikes. Although Kyle may not have the exact ebike you are looking for there is a lot of information on his YouTube videos and his new podcast. If he made the type of ebike I wanted I would buy from him.
 
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jfr1310

New Member
Thanks for all the great info. I did go to a LBS and road 2 Specialist bikes. I realize the importance of trying them as one was very uncomfortable but had a lot of Zip. The other was very comfortable but did not have the hill assist that I was looking for. I plan to try another shop and continue looking. If the bike is not comfortable it won't work forme. I still need help on the hills and it would be nice if it was not so darn heavy. I am sure that I will have to compromise, but comfort and enough power are non starters
 

PatriciaK

Well-Known Member
If you really want a throttle this (my) bike won't work for you, but it might be worth checking out and test riding - very comfortable, and plenty of power in the hilly area where live and ride:


It's a bit heavy, but does have a walk assist feature that would be useful if needed for walking or on stairs.
 

Alex M

Well-Known Member
I live in the suburban Philadelphia area and there does not seem to be a lot of bike shops that are nearby but there are a few. The shops that are nearby seem to carry trek bicycles, That seem to be a bit more expensive and seem to be equipped with motors and batteries that are of lower wattage land some of the online companies The trek verve 3+ which seem to fit my needs but comes with a 500 W battery rather than 750
You're talking about different type of motor. Mid-drive (like on Verve) is low 250W but it climbs hills "almost" same well as 500W geared hub and much better than direct drive hub. It uses less energy, so 400WH battery is adequate. 500W DD hub will climb too, when climb isn't too long. But you probably don't need Verve in your scenario. Philly is mostly flat, very moderate hills as I recall from a brief visit a while ago, though it was not in suburbs. Big brand mid-drives like Bosch used on Trek and many others have no throttle (this partially adds to"fuel economy" of this type of motor).

If you decide that you want a mid-drive without paying too much, you may look into Biktrix Stunner. Easy IGH gear shifting - sort of an automatic "transmission" on a bike. Unlike Bosch motors, this one has a throttle. Similarly to RAD it is online only.

As to the initial assembling of online-only bike, I'm pretty sure that your area is served by Velofix mobile service, they will assemble any bike and will help servicing it later. I think with RAD they just receive it for you and deliver already assembled and tuned. With other bikes you receive the box and call Velofix, they pick it up from you and bring it back assembled. Talk to them.

At this age many prefer "step through" frames, this is something not to be ignored.

"Comfortable/uncomfortable"... Many replace the stock saddle, if this is causing problems. There are also upright ridden bikes VS lean-forward models, different type of handlebars on those. If you're not a long-range commuter and not into serious trails, chances are that you need more upright position. There is also foot-forward feature on some bikes (Electra Townie Go and Aventon, for example) - seat tube is shorter but pedals are farther forward so you are sitting like on a chair, legs above the knee are close to horizontal.

Terminology detail - motor power is measured specked in watts, battery capacity - in watt hours.
 
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jfr1310

New Member
I did contact Velofix and they said that they were not in my area yet but my LBS said that they would service any bike that I bought. I also found that I definitely want a step through
 

Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
Region
Europe
City
Brwinów (PL)
I felt that I was sitting on a rock, a very hard ride
The contact points such as the saddle are to be replaced but I cannot help your negative experience...
Did you try the Specialized Turbo Como as well?
 

Alex M

Well-Known Member
It is not uncommon for LBS to service what they sell (while other bikes they may or may not service), but this shouldn't be the reason to limit your choice to a few models sold in your local store. Especially if you don't like those models.