Help with my purchase -- under $2k, fun, and other requirements

Perdendosi

New Member
Hi to everyone--
Thanks for establishing and participating in this community. I've been lurking and learning a lot, but I think I need some guidance to choose my first eBike.

I've never been a biker because I just hate the hills. I'm in mediocre shape right now, but I used to be a half marathoner, and I'm getting back into running. I'm 42, 185 lbs, and about 6'. My wife and I take ~15 mile walks as our COVID-quarantine antidote each weekend, and I see all these bikers zooming by. I think it'd be fun to join them. She used to bike a little, and she still has a road and a hybrid bike that she could use. We also have a 4-year-old who's not that great of an athlete, but we'd want to tag along. I would probably use the bike for commuting a little when I stop working from home. But my commute is only 2 miles each way. It's fairly flat, but uphill going home. (I tried using my Fuji hybrid bike to commute for a few months, but I was so exhausted riding up the hill going home it was absolutely no fun.)

Requirements:
- Something fun for weekends that works as an occasional commuting bike. (If I like it, maybe even commuting in rain and snow.) I'd need some storage capacity, too.
- Something that can work on streets, can easily go over bumps, and will work on hard packed gravel or other well-travelled, non-paved surfaces.
- Something comfy, with a cushioned ride.
- Something that can do a decent round trip (~30-40 miles or so, with me pedaling a bit), but I'm not going to be riding 100 miles without recharging.
- Something that can handle decent , rolling hills for a few miles (our favorite trail is 6 miles long and averages about 4% up), and something that can handle a couple of pretty massive, shorter hills (11% for .4 miles). I'm OK if I'm peddling at least a little on those hills.
- Something that I can put a child seat on for my 4.5, year old, 35 lb, daughter (she's kind of safety conscious, and wants a seat with a buckle. we're talking about seats that can go in the front of the bike as well as the back).
- Something that has a battery that's easy to remove, both for when I'm commuting and to take the battery inside to keep it clear of massive temperature swings.
- Something with a throttle, and preferably a throttle that (a) will start without pedaling (SLC has big intersections and that's when I need the boost of power), (b) has walk mode, and (c) has a lock out to protect against accidental activation.
- $2000, ABSOLUTELY MAX, with all accessories that I'd need (apart from the kid's seat), fenders, rack

Things I think I want:
- A decent built in headlamp for night riding.
- Delivery sooner rather than later. I'd prefer July, but probably would take August.
- Something sort of, kind of, portable. We have a vacation property 3 hours away in the southern Utah mountains. I think I'd like to take it down there occasionally when we go for longer trips. We have a really flimsy bike rack for our SUV right now, and maybe we could invest in a better rack and/or a roof rack, but being able to fit it inside our SUV, while still having some room for our bags (and of course my daughter in her car seat), would also be nice. Our garage is also fairly small, so it'd be nice for it to be somewhat compact when storing.
- Something that can do a little off-roading. I've never been a mountain biker, and I don't think I'd ever want to do something super technical, but there are biking trails near our summer home that would be fun to explore, and some of my friends are mountain bikers and it'd be fun to maybe go out with them.

Things I'm not sure I want:
- Torque vs. cadence sensor. I seem to recall when I did my test rides (see below) that I did prefer that smoother-feeling pedal assist system, but I don't know if that's really a dealbreaker.
- Brakes. It seems like hydraulic are nicer and better, but for the type of riding I want to do, it seems like mechanical are just fine, easier to tune, and cheaper.
- Motor. I've read a few threads about hub vs. mid, and it seems like a geared hub will suit my needs, and will come in more power within my price range.
- Big range of gears. One of the reasons I stopped riding my 7-speed Fuji was because it felt like there wasn't enough torque going downhill, and going uphill was too hard, even in the easiest gear. (Maybe that was just because I was out of shape and the bike was relatively heavy.) Having the ability to comfortably pedal in more conditions will make me want to ride the bike more.

Things that I have no interest in:
- Speed. Maybe I'd change my mind, but really all I want to do is keep up with traffic and have a nice ride. 20 mph would probably also be fine with the motor (that's class 2, right?), maybe 25 would be better to keep up with traffic on some streets, but I have no interest in being a speed demon.
- The super-cruiser style, with handlebars that are swept way back. I'm sure I could get used to it, but when I've ridden them in the past, turning just feels so awkward.
- A color LCD. It seems like the B&W ones are much easier to read in bright light, and readability of the display is most important to me.


About a year ago I went to a local bike shop and test rode some bikes. I can't remember which ones, but I know some were cruisers, some were fatties, some were foldables, and some were commuter/hybrids. I recall liking the feel of fatties, being unimpressed with the ride of the foldables (though it might have just been the foldable I tried-- I think it only had a 250W motor), and preferring a trigger throttle. I went to Salt Lake Ebikes, so I probably tried a Pedeo, an iZip, a Magnum, and maybe some others. But I don't recall. I could do some re-test-rides, but my wife isn't super keen on us leaving the house and going to indoor retailers (especially small spaces), even for a little bit of time, because of the virus. So I may skip that step now.

Are you still with me? Great. As a result of all of that, I was looking at affordable, fat tire, direct to consumer bikes.
So my primary list was:

Radrover5. It seemed like a really good bike for everything I needed. It looks like I could add a rear rack and have plenty of room for a kid's seat, either on the back or on the front. The price is good. The components seem good for the price. When I started looking, they were delivering in June, but it looks like I can still get it in a month or so. Local dealer network.

Voltbike 750 LTD Slightly better components, a few more good recommendations, but more expensive and probably a longer wait? I like the tire cutouts and the compass. :p

Then I kept reading the forum and found more options, like:

Sondors XS. Seems fun, but I don't like the triangle battery, and I'd have to add lots of accessories, I think. So this one is out, but I mention it because it was part of my journey.

Rize X. Seems like it has everything I'd like, including that nice, 9 speed, 11-34 tooth gear system, torque sensor, built in headlight, etc. But that's at the very top of my range. I'd have to sell a couple of pieces of my watch collection or carry a balance on my credit card for a month to buy it.

M25 All Terrain R750HT. Seems like a competitor to the Voltbike. 48 V 16 amp for $1800 with rack and fenders, most of the stuff I was looking for (except torque sensor). Higher price than I was thinking but... And the step through model can ship next week!

Juiced RipCurrent. Another option, but probably above my price range after I add the necessary accessories.


But then.... I realized that maybe a folding fattie would work, maybe even better. So I found the
Biktrix Kutty. Seems like it's got what I need specs wise, as long as a kid's bike would fit on the back.

RadMini4. Maybe not as good of specs, but good price. Dealer network, etc.

Rize Mini. Same sort of idea, right? But even at the $1600, mechanical brakes level, still get 16ah battery. But I'm really skeptical about getting a bike seat on it.

I'm sure there are others in this line.

But then... I thought that, while a fat tire bike might be fun, a commuter might get what I need, and maybe even for less money.
M25 R500? Aventon Level? Rize 2020 (available now, 13AH with Cadence Sensor for only $1300)?

Still with me? Okay. Here's what I need.
1) What class of bike do you think would be best for me, considering my desires? Fattie? Foldable fattie? Commuter? Something else?
2) Any bikes I've missed that I should consider?
3) Am I up in the night about any specs or features? Something I need or not?
(I'm assuming I should get a 750 W, geared hub motor, "medium" or "large" frame, at least 7 gears, etc.) Will a $1000 bike do for what I want?

Thanks in advance!
 

AHicks

Well-Known Member
I think you want a fattie, and I also like the geared rear hub plan. A mid drive might work out OK too, though it would need to be 750+ watts as well.

I don't like the idea of a strapped in child. If the bike goes down for any reason, or god forbid, is hit, I think a strapped in child might be in for more serious injuries. There's NOTHING there to protect them.

The last idea, the one regarding $1000. bikes, would be great IF you could find one with a reasonably powerful battery, and the 750w (plus) geared rear hub motor. Buy a bike with the enough battery and motor, and anything else can be easily modified.

The new version of the Rad Wagon (with geared rear hub) might work out for you too. Riding 2 up, with the new Wagon or the Rover would be a tough call for me.

Last, I use a small utility trailer with built in bike racks to haul our bikes (locally, and our twice annual snow bird run). Bikes are easily loaded and take maybe 2 minutes to secure. I need the trailer to haul "stuff" occasionally anyway, so that plan has worked out really well for us. Especially since a rack for the back of an SUV capable of carrying a couple of e-bikes can get pretty sketchy. That's something that needs to be done right (think $$$).
 

Perdendosi

New Member
Thanks for that reply.
I feel like her being strapped in is the only way she'll feel comfortable riding with me. And since many serious injuries are caused by passengers being thrown from vehicles (I know this is true for cars, I can only assume that it's true in bikes), I'd think a strap would help prevent those horrible, life-threatening consequences.

I like the idea of a wagon, but I'm afraid that it'll just be too damn big to fit in the remaining space of my 1-car garage, and it'll be too bulky to park at work.
 

Perdendosi

New Member
I'm starting to think more and more about the Rize Mini. All of the features I'm looking for except for torque PAS, foldable for easier storage and transport (maybe?), big batteries. Kinda fun. My wife and I could probably both ride it. But the big question is, do you think I could get a child seat on the back?
 

Perdendosi

New Member
For anyone who cares, :) I'm also looking at the Himiway Cruiser. Pretty cheap for a fat tire bike with a 750 geared hub motor, 48V, 17.5 ah battery, with all the accessories I need. The only things I see are that the magnets of the cadence system look to be exposed, and the bash guard around the front gear doesn't look awesome.

I'm still waffling between a fattie and a foldable. I've sent out queries to the foldable manufacturers to see if my preferred rear child seat will fit. We'll see what they say.
 

PatriciaK

Well-Known Member
I think you want a fattie, and I also like the geared rear hub plan. A mid drive might work out OK too, though it would need to be 750+ watts as well.

I don't like the idea of a strapped in child. If the bike goes down for any reason, or god forbid, is hit, I think a strapped in child might be in for more serious injuries. There's NOTHING there to protect them.

The last idea, the one regarding $1000. bikes, would be great IF you could find one with a reasonably powerful battery, and the 750w (plus) geared rear hub motor. Buy a bike with the enough battery and motor, and anything else can be easily modified.

The new version of the Rad Wagon (with geared rear hub) might work out for you too. Riding 2 up, with the new Wagon or the Rover would be a tough call for me.

Last, I use a small utility trailer with built in bike racks to haul our bikes (locally, and our twice annual snow bird run). Bikes are easily loaded and take maybe 2 minutes to secure. I need the trailer to haul "stuff" occasionally anyway, so that plan has worked out really well for us. Especially since a rack for the back of an SUV capable of carrying a couple of e-bikes can get pretty sketchy. That's something that needs to be done right (think $$$).
It's there a picture of your trailer set up, please?
 

Perdendosi

New Member
For anyone who cares, I went with the Rize mini, with the mechanical brakes and 16 ah battery. It's the best value of features and specs for the price I was looking at.
I wanted a fun bike, with a good motor to get up hills, but with the possibility of taking it to our mountain condo. I was going to go with the Ariel Rider C-Class or M-Class, because wow you get amazing features for the money, but I just thought that they wouldn't be that fun to ride. (And the M-Class looks really, really small.)
The fattie options looked fun, but they looked SO big. Not transportable.
I thought about the extra money for the hydraulic brakes and the longer battery, but (a) my commute is only 3 miles each way (b) my wife's getting a bike that only has a 30 mile range (and any of my longer rides are going to be with her, so I probably don't need a 19ah battery if she can't go very far), (c) I'm not going to be going 30 or 40 MPH in the rain, and (d) I don't want to worry about needing to go to a bike shop to adjust the brakes.

I think it's gonna be a lot of fun, and it'll come in a week!
Thanks to everyone for your thoughts and suggestions.