Help Selecting the Right eBike

ScottyPoppy

New Member
Region
USA
Great website with great reviews. I am hoping to get help from those with lots of ebike experience. I am ready to purchase my first ebike. For me it will be a car replacement and used primarily for commuting and errands around town, just like I would do in a car. I have ridden an ebike once, for three hours. It was rented and I was part of a bike tour. I enjoyed it a lot, but it had one weakness. On the bike tour there was a point where we were going up a steep hill for a short distance and the bike almost slowed to a stop, but barely made it. I don't want that experience in a bike I purchase. Here are some considerations:

- Cost around $4000.
- Made by a good, solid company out of quality parts, preferably supported by a bike shop nearby. A good warranty is also desirable.
- I despise all this "class" nonsense, though I have to live with it. I want to pedal the bike sometimes and not pedal it sometimes. I want to go faster than 28 mph when desired. Preferably the ebike will have a legal class and easily let me not use it and use the throttle to go as fast as the bike is truly capable.
- Comfort is a priority. I have a Trek mountain bike and have done little in the way of trails. This will be an all-season around town commuter.
- No fat-bike, but wider tires than average are okay.
- A low entry point is preferable but not essential.
- My top choice so far is the HPC Scout.

Here are some questions I have been scouring the internet to find answers to:

- Will even a low, 250 watt motor climb a steep hill in the right gear?
- Maybe I don't need to be obsessive about getting a 750+ watt motor?

Thanks for your thoughts!
 

Dewey

Well-Known Member
Sure, a quality 250w mid-drive system like a Bosch Performance CX with 85nm torque will climb hills handily and is available on Class 1 models like the Trek Allant+ 7, you might be able to trade-in your Trek mtb.
Respectfully the Class system is there to protect others from you as much as for your convenience, a 3,000w HPC Scout in off-road mode would be treated as an unlicensed, uninsured, unregistered motorcycle by the Police should you choose to ride at >35mph in the street.
I suspect you would be happy with a 750w BBS02 powered conversion such as a Biktrix Stunner, Evelo Aurora Ltd, or Dost Kope
 

ScottyPoppy

New Member
Region
USA
Sure, a quality 250w mid-drive system like a Bosch Performance CX with 85nm torque will climb hills handily and is available on Class 1 models like the Trek Allant+ 7, you might be able to trade-in your Trek mtb.
Respectfully the Class system is there to protect others from you as much as for your convenience, a 3,000w HPC Scout in off-road mode would be treated as an unlicensed, uninsured, unregistered motorcycle by the Police should you choose to ride at >35mph in the street.
I suspect you would be happy with a 750w BBS02 powered conversion such as a Biktrix Stunner, Evelo Aurora Ltd, or Dost Kope
Thanks for the recommendations. I am looking at them closely. There are SOOO many companies and possibilities out there.
 

Elkman

Active Member
For commuting I would want a bike with fenders and lights and a solid rear rack or at least mounting bosses for a strong rack. The Yamaha Cross Connect which has a 3-year warranty on the frame, battery, and motor. It has a weight of 49.8 lbs which makes it manageable to carry up stairs. The Yamaha Civante is a Class III bike selling for $3,400 and weighing 43 lbs without fenders, and has a motor providing up to 70Nm of torque. Yamaha has been selling e-bikes since 1993 and so has a great deal more design and engineering experience than any other manufacturer, in particular for the mass market for those not interested or able to spend $10,000 for an e-bike.
 

Dallant

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
Another vote for Trek Allant+7 with fenders, lights, and a solid Racktime rack. Climbs and rides very well with SCHWALBE G-One 27.5 X 2.25 tires. Very reliable for me with 1850+ miles. Best of luck deciding.
As you mentioned, much depends on what shops are dependable and close, especially these days!
AC0F4800-C03A-4EA4-A3B1-921B6347ABF2.jpeg
 

Marci jo

Well-Known Member
Pretty bikes!
If that deep step through frame (not a mid step) came in a class 3, I would for sure consider one.
Love the Schwabe G-One tires that I added to my Vado. They have very small knobs so sometimes I can hear them “howl”, depending on speed.
 
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AHicks

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Snow Bird - Summer S.E. Michigan, Winter Gulf Coast North Central Fl.
Regarding the size of the motor (250w vs. 750w) it's about the effective gear ratio. A mid mounted 250w motor (or bigger) has the advantage of powering through all of the bike's available gearing - which gives it quite the advantage over a geared hub motor, which drives through an internal fixed 5:1 ratio, which you will most likely assist using the bikes available gearing. This being the case, geared hub motors have grown in size to compensate - into something like the 750w motors or even bigger. Often times that more than makes up for the gearing available when going with a mid drive.

Then, many that have owned/ridden both mid drive and geared hub (myself included) will tell you that the geared hub drives are just flat easier to ride.

So, if you have big hills that are going to be ridden frequently, and you don't know any better one way or the other, I would recommend the mid drive. That way you aren't going to find out, the hard way, that the geared hub drive can't/won't climb those big hills setting yourself up for a big disappointment.

Lacking those big hills, I think the simplicity of the geared hub setup makes much more sense. My thought, FWIW. -Al
 
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Dallant

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
The Scout at $4k is more expensive than the Allant+7 and only has a 2 amp charger, no fenders/lights/rack and knobby tires. Trek has all that plus comes with 4 amp charger and a nationwide support network.
 

indianajo

Well-Known Member
Regarding the size of the motor (250w vs. 750w) it's about the effective gear ratio. A mid mounted 250w motor (or bigger) has the advantage of powering through all of the bike's available gearing - which gives it quite the advantage over a geared hub motor, which drives through an internal fixed 5:1 ratio, which you will most likely assist using the bikes available gearing. This being the case, geared hub motors have grown in size to compensate - into something like the 750w motors or even bigger. Often times that more than makes up for the gearing available when going with a mid drive.

Then, many that have owned/ridden both mid drive and geared hub (myself included) will tell you that the geared hub drives are just flat easier to ride.
This myth of torque multiplication by the bike's sprockets, on mid drives, comes up over & over. Less than 1% of bikes sold have any torque muttiplication in the sprockets. Say it a million times, it is rarely true. Look for a rear spocket of 48 teeth or so, the size of a dinner plate. Pair that with a 32 or 25 tooth front sprocket, about 3" diameter. That bike has torque multiplication. Expensive mountain bikes have this arrangement A few expensive bikes with a IGH like enviolo, shimano 8 speed, Rohloff, have internal torque multiplication.
What is very true of mid drives is that the chain wears out 2 to 10 times faster than a chain on a hub drive bike. I get 5000 miles on the 8 speed chain on my hub drive bike.
What is true of mid drives, is they cool better than geared hub motors. You can burn a geared hub motor on a slow climb of 1000' or more. They are mostly not sold, because most purchasers are in California, Oregon, Washingon, or Colorado, and go out the first weekend with their new bike and burn it up climbing to the top. I go over 80 hills on my weekly commute, but because my overall rise is ~200 ', it doesn't overheat.
My 500 W advertised, 1000 w on sticker, MAC12t geared hub motor, will lift 160 lb me, 94 lb of bike bags racks stand spares tools & water, 80 lb groceries or ag supplies, up 15% grades. It will start from a dead stop on that grade with no input from my feet. If I don't help any it will max out @ 8 mph up that grade with 330 lb load. If I hit the grade at 30 mph with momentum from previous grade, it will roll me over the top @ 23 mph.
Note that 250 W motors are so capable, that they are not good enough for Switzerland. Europe limits bike motors to 250 W. Switzerland has a higher watt limit.
The class system is a regulation device the bike manufacurers have sold the governments. NYC was confiscating bikes with a throttle a year or so ago. Massachusetts doesn't allow the higher classes. Many parks do not allow class 3 bikes or bikes with throttles on their trails or roads. Some parks don't allow class 2, and some don't allow electric bikes at all. If you live in a nanny state like MA, or Canada, or you want to ride in scenic parks, you have to work around the class system.
Personally I don't like riding 28 mph, it is too rough & windy. My bike tops out on the flat @ 23 mph. I had a motor previously that would go 25, and thrill wasn't worth it IMHO. I bought electricity to keep my average speed up to 9 mph, even though a 25 mph headwind (more common these days) would drag me down to 5 mph and make my commute last 5.7 hours. No more of that!
Happy shopping.
 
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AHicks

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Snow Bird - Summer S.E. Michigan, Winter Gulf Coast North Central Fl.
This myth of torque multiplication by the bike's sprockets, on mid drives, comes up over & over. Less than 1% of bikes sold have any torque muttiplication in the sprockets. .
Nonsense.
Using this same logic, you're saying cars and trucks don't need a transmission, no? I know you don't drive much, so maybe it's time for you to review the purpose of a transmission. I think most here understand their purpose, and it's no myth. Proof it's no myth, is the fact about every car or truck ever made, as well as most agricultural equipment, ALL use gears. Think of all that wasted money if there were no purpose for gears!
 

GenXrider

Well-Known Member
The mid-drive motor doesn't need amplification of torque through the bike's drive train. There's already a lot of gear reduction in a mid-drive motor for increased torque, more so than a 5:1 geared hub.

Reference from an older post:

So a mid-drive motor taking advantage of the range of gears provided by the drive train still provides an advantage because the over-all gear ratio (of the internal motor gear reduction and drive train gearing combined) can be varied to suit the riding conditions.
 
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indianajo

Well-Known Member
Nonsense.
Using this same logic, you're saying cars and trucks don't need a transmission, no? I know you don't drive much, so maybe it's time for you to review the purpose of a transmission. I think most here understand their purpose, and it's no myth. Proof it's no myth, is the fact about every car or truck ever made, as well as most agricultural equipment,
Some people don't believe in math. I've met people who think the moon walk in 1969 was shot inside that big movie studio south of Houston TX called JSC building 30.
Count the sprocket teeth. 42(front)/28(rear), typical lowest speed on 90% of bikes, is a speed increase of 1.5. 50% increase of speed, 50% decrease of torque. The only torque increase in 99% of mid-drive bikes is the gear reduction inside the motor. Just like the 5:1 gear ratio in the geared hub motor.
It's true gear reduction+torque increase is in 99% of cars, trucks & motorcycles. Not true in bicycles.
Took me years to find a bike with ratios from 32:32 (1:1) to 52:11(4.7:1), that fit my short legs & could carry cargo safely. Yuba is so happy with the design they deleted it.
 

AHicks

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Snow Bird - Summer S.E. Michigan, Winter Gulf Coast North Central Fl.
Some people don't believe in math. I've met people who think the moon walk in 1969 was shot inside that big movie studio south of Houston TX called JSC building 30.
Count the sprocket teeth. 42(front)/28(rear), typical lowest speed on 90% of bikes, is a speed increase of 1.5. 50% increase of speed, 50% decrease of torque. The only torque increase in 99% of mid-drive bikes is the gear reduction inside the motor. Just like the 5:1 gear ratio in the geared hub motor.
It's true gear reduction+torque increase is in 99% of cars, trucks & motorcycles. Not true in bicycles.
Took me years to find a bike with ratios from 32:32 (1:1) to 52:11(4.7:1), that fit my short legs & could carry cargo safely. Yuba is so happy with the design they deleted it.
Funny thing about math, improperly used, you can make it say about anything. IMHO, you're much further ahead, in this case, to think from a more practical perspective. Here's something I think we can all agree on. When you're on a bike, any bike, do you climb a hill or start from a stop in top gear? No, of course not. This in mind, answer the question why not?

Staying away from the specific ratios, working from a practical perspective only, anyone that's ever ridden a mid drive and a geared hub is going to tell you that unlike a geared hub, with a mid drive what gear you are in makes a difference in how much acceleration you will experience on level surfaces, and also, for the same reason, the gear it's in will determine that bike's ability to climb. This is very easily demonstrated - and uses no math.

As far as conspiracy theories, my favorite is the one regarding birds sitting on wires. The conspirists believe many of those birds are drones charging their batteries.... :eek:

And for what it's worth, I'm a double math major that retired after a 25 year career working with computers...... yes, a digit head. Point being, math doesn't always provide answers that make the most sense.
 

GenXrider

Well-Known Member
And there's definitely true gear reduction and torque increase in bicycles.

Here's a copy of the chart from the linked post that shows the gear reduction prior to the bike's chain drive train:

1628519086541.png
 
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indianajo

Well-Known Member
So mid drives have a FIXED gear reduction inside, before the sprocket drive. Just like a geared hub motor.
What happens afterwards in the sprockets in 99% of bikes, is a speed increase and torque reduction.
Middrives do cool better than hub drives.
The limit on speed these days is not IMHO the rotation of the armature. Good bearings are cheap these days and rotor balance is well maintained by machine wound rotors. The limit is how much heat builds up in the rotors & windings. Dentist's drills easily achieve 100000 rpm, since they don't need much torque or power.
To calculate torque decrease and speed increase by sprocket drive, read Audel's Millwrights & Mechanics Guide. The conveyor of the examples is the road under the bicycle.
 
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AHicks

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Snow Bird - Summer S.E. Michigan, Winter Gulf Coast North Central Fl.
So mid drives have a FIXED gear reduction inside, before the sprocket drive. Just like a geared hub motor.
Agreed

What happens afterwards in the sprockets in 99% of bikes, is a speed increase and torque reduction.
Torque reduction as compared to that available at the motor's output shaft maybe.

Middrives do cool better than hub drives.
If all else is equal, say comparing actual 500w motors in a geared hub, and a mid drive, I don't agree. Both are buried where they get no air flow, and for that reason are going to get hot when working at their rated capacity. Both run composite planetary gears, and my bet is, that's going to be you point of failure the majority of the time. The motor's pinion gets hot enough to melt them. I think maybe one redeeming feature of the mid drive might be that you are more likely to see thermal switches installed, that will shut it down when it gets too hot.

The limit on speed these days is not IMHO the rotation of the armature. Good bearings are cheap these days and rotor balance is well maintained by machine wound rotors. The limit is how much heat builds up in the rotors & windings. Dentist's drills easily achieve 100000 rpm, since they don't need much torque or power.
To calculate torque decrease and speed increase by sprocket drive, read Audel's Millwrights & Mechanics Guide. The conveyor of the examples is the road under the bicycle.
The limit on speed (motor rpm) is generally the controller's ability to switch phases quickly..... as well as the number of windings on the armature.