Help with our first ebikes

Hi folks,

This is my first post here. I’m in the US and looking to buy an ebike for myself and my wife. Boy am I glad I found this forum and all the great reviews as well. I’ve spent the last week researching and now I need to take it a step further and ask for help from the people with more knowledge of and experience with ebikes.

First the facts:
I’m 6’2” and 230 lbs. I’m not in great shape and never was able to cycle uphill or a steep incline. I just dismount and walk up. I have weak wrists and a weak lower back. I currently have a Giant Roam 2 (L frame) and have the following complaints:
  1. The riding position puts too much weight on my wrists all the time. I’d love to be able to reduce that. I am aware that a more forward stance helps with control - which maybe required from time to time with the type of riding I want to do? I dunno.
  2. The frame size feels wrong to me. I quite often hit my knees on the handlebars when making a turn. The top tube feels too high when I’m standing over the frame.
I think the LBS didn’t do a great size match when I bought it.

My wife is 5’1” and has left the choice of what to ride up to me with her only constraint being that her’s has got to be a step through frame.

Where we want to ride:
Primarily trails - paved and unpaved in nearby parks and reserves. And roads around our neighbourhood when we can’t get to trails.

Brands available at shops near us:
  • Bulls
  • Magnum
  • Raleigh
  • Stromer
  • Surface 604
  • Gazelle
  • Haibike
  • Riese and Muller
  • Yamaha
  • Tern
  • Trek
  • Giant
  • Specialized

Preference 1
I am deliberately staying away from cycles sold exclusively online. I strongly prefer being able to test out a cycle I think I might want to buy. I’d like to buy from a local shop and then go back to them for support whenever an issue arises.
OK so based on the information above I’ve come to the following preferences and assumptions.

Assumption 1
I should try to find a bike that allows a more upright position. Which leads to the preference below.

Preference 2
I want adjustable handlebars. To find a comfortable position that eases strain on my back and wrists. And to have the option to keep adjusting that when I need to. I don’t mind dropping it a bit when I want a lower position for some rides.

Assumption 2
I should use tires with a width between 2” to 3”. From what I could glean this width could be the best for the kind of surfaces we’re hoping to ride on.
As far as I can tell most hybrid bikes have wheels with a 27” - 28”. And that seems like the size I should aim for.

Preference 3
I don’t want a fat bike.

Assumption 3
Motor torque - more is good for my weight and inability to handle gradients. I’ve not yet done any test rides to figure out what I really need. But more can’t hurt?

Assumption 4
Suspension - I think I’d need at least a front suspension. And a rear suspension would be nice but not necessary? I keep reading about seat post suspension which seems like it’s an added bonus and could be added to almost any bike I would pick up?

Open questions:

How much of the cycle can and should I change at the shop?
If I like the setup except for one thing - say handlebars or tires would it always be possible to swap those out locally?

Drivetrain: Derailleur, Envilio or Rohloff?
I think this only affects R&M bikes since not many other manufacturers seem to have anything except derailleur setups?

Here are the bikes on my radar:
Trek
Verve+
Allant+
The Allant+ has quite a lot going for it: Gen 4 CX Bosch motors on the 7 and 8. 2.4” tires. The 7 has a front suspension fork. Trek has dealers all over so probably the easiest to find and service. Downside is the non adjustable handlebar stem.
The Verve has older/weaker motors.

Giant
Explore E+ 4
Fastroad E+ EX Pro

Plenty of torque. The explore tires are a bit narrow. And both have a forward leaning position which I’d want to adjust.

Specialized
Vado
Como

I think these bikes look beautiful. Tire width a bit below what I think I need at 1.8” or so. And I’d probably want to add an adjustable on the Vado if I went with that - is it possible?

Gazelle
Ultimate T10+
Ultimate T10

Very neat looking. The T10 has an integrated suspension fork vs the standard suspension fork setup on the T10+. Not sure how different that would feel. I think the bike was designed for a city commuter first. No CX motor just the Speed on the T10+. And the T10 has a previous generation Bosch with 65 Nm. Also the tires are 1.75” wide - something I think is narrower than what I should go for. Of course those could be swapped out?

Bulls
Cross Lite Evo
Lacuba Evo Lite
Lacuba Evo E8
Lacuba Evo E45

The Cross Lite Evo, Lacuba E8, Lacuba E45 are on sale from the manufacturer since they are from the previous model year. And now I notice the current model year for the Cross Live Evo has appeared with a Bosch Gen 4 CX in place of the Brose S Mag. So there’s a chance the others will be refreshed with different motors too? Would it be worth considering the previous model year with the Brose motors or wait for the refresh?

Riese and Muller
Delite/Superdelite
Charger/Supercharger
Nevo 3

So many options. Also at a price point above all the others in the list. I like the fact they have Gen 4 Bosch motors on all of these. And they seem to be for more of a middle path of roads and trails both. Then there’s the debate over derailleur/Envilio/Rohloff :). I guess I won’t know what’s the difference until I ride one of each.

Really when doing all this research I think the one that resounded with me the most was the Moustache Samedi 27 X-Road. But for that I’d have to drive 400 miles to Propel in Los Angeles and then have nowhere local for Moustache service. Maybe the components are general enough for any ebike shop to service though? I don’t prefer this but damn that one really fit my mental model the most.

Now that the holiday weekend is over here, I’m going to be talking to local shops too and start scheduling some test rides :).

In the meanwhile I’d love to get feedback - what did I get right or wrong? What did I miss out on considering that I should keep in mind? Hope to keep the discussion going until the purchase.

Thanks!
 

FlatSix911

Well-Known Member
Welcome to EBR! You have done a lot of research and prepared an exhaustive list of high-quality eBike candidates.

Based on your criteria I would recommend riding as many bikes as possible and then return here with additional questions.


Hi folks,

This is my first post here. I’m in the US and looking to buy an ebike for myself and my wife. Boy am I glad I found this forum and all the great reviews as well. I’ve spent the last week researching and now I need to take it a step further and ask for help from the people with more knowledge of and experience with ebikes.

First the facts:
I’m 6’2” and 230 lbs. I’m not in great shape and never was able to cycle uphill or a steep incline. I just dismount and walk up. I have weak wrists and a weak lower back. I currently have a Giant Roam 2 (L frame) and have the following complaints:
  1. The riding position puts too much weight on my wrists all the time. I’d love to be able to reduce that. I am aware that a more forward stance helps with control - which maybe required from time to time with the type of riding I want to do? I dunno.
  2. The frame size feels wrong to me. I quite often hit my knees on the handlebars when making a turn. The top tube feels too high when I’m standing over the frame.
I think the LBS didn’t do a great size match when I bought it.

My wife is 5’1” and has left the choice of what to ride up to me with her only constraint being that her’s has got to be a step through frame.

Where we want to ride:
Primarily trails - paved and unpaved in nearby parks and reserves. And roads around our neighbourhood when we can’t get to trails.

Brands available at shops near us:
  • Bulls
  • Magnum
  • Raleigh
  • Stromer
  • Surface 604
  • Gazelle
  • Haibike
  • Riese and Muller
  • Yamaha
  • Tern
  • Trek
  • Giant
  • Specialized

Preference 1
I am deliberately staying away from cycles sold exclusively online. I strongly prefer being able to test out a cycle I think I might want to buy. I’d like to buy from a local shop and then go back to them for support whenever an issue arises.
OK so based on the information above I’ve come to the following preferences and assumptions.

Assumption 1
I should try to find a bike that allows a more upright position. Which leads to the preference below.

Preference 2
I want adjustable handlebars. To find a comfortable position that eases strain on my back and wrists. And to have the option to keep adjusting that when I need to. I don’t mind dropping it a bit when I want a lower position for some rides.

Assumption 2
I should use tires with a width between 2” to 3”. From what I could glean this width could be the best for the kind of surfaces we’re hoping to ride on.
As far as I can tell most hybrid bikes have wheels with a 27” - 28”. And that seems like the size I should aim for.

Preference 3
I don’t want a fat bike.

Assumption 3
Motor torque - more is good for my weight and inability to handle gradients. I’ve not yet done any test rides to figure out what I really need. But more can’t hurt?

Assumption 4
Suspension - I think I’d need at least a front suspension. And a rear suspension would be nice but not necessary? I keep reading about seat post suspension which seems like it’s an added bonus and could be added to almost any bike I would pick up?

Open questions:

How much of the cycle can and should I change at the shop?
If I like the setup except for one thing - say handlebars or tires would it always be possible to swap those out locally?

Drivetrain: Derailleur, Envilio or Rohloff?
I think this only affects R&M bikes since not many other manufacturers seem to have anything except derailleur setups?

Here are the bikes on my radar:
Trek
Verve+
Allant+
The Allant+ has quite a lot going for it: Gen 4 CX Bosch motors on the 7 and 8. 2.4” tires. The 7 has a front suspension fork. Trek has dealers all over so probably the easiest to find and service. Downside is the non adjustable handlebar stem.
The Verve has older/weaker motors.

Giant
Explore E+ 4
Fastroad E+ EX Pro

Plenty of torque. The explore tires are a bit narrow. And both have a forward leaning position which I’d want to adjust.

Specialized
Vado
Como

I think these bikes look beautiful. Tire width a bit below what I think I need at 1.8” or so. And I’d probably want to add an adjustable on the Vado if I went with that - is it possible?

Gazelle
Ultimate T10+
Ultimate T10

Very neat looking. The T10 has an integrated suspension fork vs the standard suspension fork setup on the T10+. Not sure how different that would feel. I think the bike was designed for a city commuter first. No CX motor just the Speed on the T10+. And the T10 has a previous generation Bosch with 65 Nm. Also the tires are 1.75” wide - something I think is narrower than what I should go for. Of course those could be swapped out?

Bulls
Cross Lite Evo
Lacuba Evo Lite
Lacuba Evo E8
Lacuba Evo E45

The Cross Lite Evo, Lacuba E8, Lacuba E45 are on sale from the manufacturer since they are from the previous model year. And now I notice the current model year for the Cross Live Evo has appeared with a Bosch Gen 4 CX in place of the Brose S Mag. So there’s a chance the others will be refreshed with different motors too? Would it be worth considering the previous model year with the Brose motors or wait for the refresh?

Riese and Muller
Delite/Superdelite
Charger/Supercharger
Nevo 3

So many options. Also at a price point above all the others in the list. I like the fact they have Gen 4 Bosch motors on all of these. And they seem to be for more of a middle path of roads and trails both. Then there’s the debate over derailleur/Envilio/Rohloff :). I guess I won’t know what’s the difference until I ride one of each.

Really when doing all this research I think the one that resounded with me the most was the Moustache Samedi 27 X-Road. But for that I’d have to drive 400 miles to Propel in Los Angeles and then have nowhere local for Moustache service. Maybe the components are general enough for any ebike shop to service though? I don’t prefer this but damn that one really fit my mental model the most.

Now that the holiday weekend is over here, I’m going to be talking to local shops too and start scheduling some test rides :).

In the meanwhile I’d love to get feedback - what did I get right or wrong? What did I miss out on considering that I should keep in mind? Hope to keep the discussion going until the purchase.

Thanks!
 
Thanks @FlatSix911. I just got off the phone with a LBS and went over a lot of the questions I had. Now comes the part where we strike some bikes off that list and try to find test rides for the others.
 

Dallant

Well-Known Member
I own an Allant+7 and love it and I recommend you take a test ride. I weigh about the same as you and the Performance CX works great for me. That said, one of my wrists takes a hit because I’m old and it’s not the most upright sitting position. I added bar-end risers and that helps a bit. Maybe a different stem might be doable.
BTW, don’t forget that Bosch is releasing a significant update this month that will increase the torque significantly.
 
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byunbee

Well-Known Member
Hi and welcome to the forum!

Wow...lot of detail to digest. :)

Of all the bikes you mentioned, R&M is definitely the top brand and the most expensive. The Bosch Gen 4 is also an awesome motor and you can't really go wrong.

Many of us have chosen to order from Watt Wagons and are waiting on their new UC Pro. They are online only so may not meet your requirements, but they are U.S. based bike builder that offer R&M level components with a much more powerful motor (Bafang Ultra has 160 nm of torque and offers throttle + PAS). It doesn't hurt to check it out and the owner is active on this forum (@pushkar) if you have specific questions. Below are links to their dedicated sub forum on EBR and also the link to their website.
In regard to Drivetrain: Derailleur, Envilio or Rohloff?, many of the new higher tier bikes come with Gates Carbon Drive (belt instead of chain). R&M also has this option at higher price than the traditional derailleur/chain option. Gates belt drive is good because it lasts a very long time with some reporting 10,000 miles or more. Rohloff is an IGH, which allows easier shifting even at standstill. They are well known to be a workhorse that also last forever if regularly maintained (annual oil change) with some folks using it for 100k miles without issues. Chain, derailleur. cassettes all require replacement every 2-3 thousand miles. Parts can cost $3-500 (depending on the model) plus the service fee at LBS.

If you can afford the Rohloff with Gates Carbon Drive and you don't like to tinker and do your own maintenance, go with this option.

In regard to handlebars, you can buy a bar with more sloped which will help alot with the wrist pain/numbness as well as provide a more upright sitting position. Surly Moloko and Jones Loop bar are popular choices.

You can also buy adjustable stem risers to provide better control over adjusting the handlebar height.

Both the handlebar and the stems are very easy to replace relatively low cost mods.

All of the big bike manufacturers offer solid reliable bikes and often use similar motors (Bosch, Brose, Yamaha). Since there are so many options, I think you will need to prioritize some criteria to get a more focused feedback from the members. For example:
  • Budget (desired and max) - Since you're considering R&M, my guess is that you have a rather larger budget
  • Torque - like you surmised, higher the torque better assist you'll get.
  • Range - How many miles do you expect to ride at one time? Relates to battery size or need for dual battery. If you only ride 5-10 miles at a time, buying dual battery will be a waste of money.
  • Mid-drive or Hub Drive?
    • Mid-drives are better at inclines and offer a more natural riding feel than hubdrives)
  • Drivetrain
  • Terrain (paved, dirt, sand, mud, snow)
  • Rigid vs Front vs FS
    • FS will always be most comfortable, but has downsides (i.e. more components to maintain and replace, not as efficient as rigid forks due to the dampening)
    • It sounds like Front suspension with a good suspension seatpost (Cirrus Cycles Kinekt) would probably meet your needs.
I'll come back later (dinner) and digest some more of your essay and offer more suggestions, if others haven't already. :)
 

Coolbob

Member
From one newbie to another, welcome to the forums!

I've been researching and shopping for an Ebike for a couple of months. I rode a few Treks, Specalized and Giant bikes, all mid-drive along with a ride on a rear hub drive bike. Even though I only rode them around the flat parking lots, I found that I much preferred the feeling of the mid drive bikes. I also discovered that I prefer the simple controls, no LCD screen and Auto assist mode on the Giant bikes. To me riding them was the most like riding a regular bicycle without undue distractions or complexity.

Since you're already considering bikes by Giant, you might want to look for a 2019 Giant LaFree for your wife. The LaFree has no-maintenance belt drive, 8-speed internal gears, mid-drive, fairly wide all-purpose tires, fenders, lights, rear rack and a up-right casual riding position. The Giant dealer had one in stock and it was the quietest Ebike I have ridden. I tried to talk my wife into getting it, but the only one they had was black and she would prefer a more 'fun' color. Even though the shop was willing to knock off a fair amount to make the sale she decided to keep looking. The bike shop is supposed to open a store in our town in a couple of months, so she decided to hold off till then.

The salesperson at the Giant shop an hour from our home recommended we look at the Momentum (division of Giant) Vita E+ for my wife and that I consider the Transend E+.

From the information and photos online the Transend E+ looked to be just what I wanted in an Ebike, minimalist appearance, good all-purpose tires that are wide, but not fat-bike wide, low maintenance internal gearing, mid-drive, 28mph capable, and a riding position that is midway between comfort bike and mountain bike. Not wanting to wait, I ordered one to be delivered to the dealer. It arrived and was assembled by the Giant dealer in less than a week and it has far exceeded my expectations. I've ridden it about 100-miles in two weeks (more than I've ridden my old Cannondale in the past 2-years) and it puts a grin on my face every mile.


 

Sierratim

Well-Known Member
Will you be riding primarily on dedicated trails or also on streets? I ask as the dealers near you offer ebikes categorized into at least two of the three ebike 'classes', the main difference being the top bike speed the bike's motor will support. The three classes are;
  • Class 1: eBikes that are pedal-assist only, with no throttle, and have a maximum assisted speed of 20 mph.
  • Class 2: eBikes that also have a maximum speed of 20 mph, but are throttle-assisted.
  • Class 3: eBikes that are pedal-assist only, with no throttle, and a maximum assisted speed of 28 mph.
Many trails prohibit access by Class 3 bikes but riding at Class 3 speeds on streets is more convenient. I also feel safer being closer to traffic speeds though it does use more battery capacity per mile. So it's a trade off. You might go with a Class 1 ebike if you'll primarily be on tails, a Class 3 if you'll primarily be on streets. If you'll ride a mix you can what we do, ride our Class 3 ebikes on the trails but following all the rules, including speed limits. We've never even been asked about the Class of our ebikes on a trail but YRMV.
 
Here's what I got out of the chat with the LBS.
Tire swap - hardest and least choice when moving to a larger width or thicker tire. Easy to find a different thread of the same size to match terrain. So probably means I should strike off some bikes which just don't come with the tire size or width I'm aiming for.
Seat post swap - Pretty normal and a lot of buyers go for it. Don't see a problem there.
Handlebar / stem swap - Hit or miss. Some manufacturers have custom components here. Sometimes you need longer cable runs for what you want to do so it gets pricey.
Derailleur/Envilio/Rohloff et al - Rider preference. Different costs and pros/cons. So really I need to try them all out and figure out what I like and it the price will also determine what I end up with :p
Torque - 65 Nm should be the minimum for my weight. Was told Bosch supports their motors for 7 years after production ends so don't discount the Gen 2s that still are available on some bikes. I think I'm going to still prefer a Gen 4 if I'm putting down that much money.
Suspension - For comfort and control a full suspension setup would be ideal for me. Didn't really hear anything about downsides to it like less rigidity. Again I'll need to test ride some options to feel the difference and the cost is a factor.
 

Sierratim

Well-Known Member
Here's what I got out of the chat with the LBS.
Tire swap - hardest and least choice when moving to a larger width or thicker tire. Easy to find a different thread of the same size to match terrain. So probably means I should strike off some bikes which just don't come with the tire size or width I'm aiming for.
Seat post swap - Pretty normal and a lot of buyers go for it. Don't see a problem there.
Handlebar / stem swap - Hit or miss. Some manufacturers have custom components here. Sometimes you need longer cable runs for what you want to do so it gets pricey.
Derailleur/Envilio/Rohloff et al - Rider preference. Different costs and pros/cons. So really I need to try them all out and figure out what I like and it the price will also determine what I end up with :p
Torque - 65 Nm should be the minimum for my weight. Was told Bosch supports their motors for 7 years after production ends so don't discount the Gen 2s that still are available on some bikes. I think I'm going to still prefer a Gen 4 if I'm putting down that much money.
Suspension - For comfort and control a full suspension setup would be ideal for me. Didn't really hear anything about downsides to it like less rigidity. Again I'll need to test ride some options to feel the difference and the cost is a factor.
I agree with your torque spec as a minium. Depending on your typical route, there may be times when you wished you had more. We have Vado 5s that produce up to 90Nm torque. In our hilly town I'm glad we went with the higher output. Apparently the Bosh Gen 4 motors will be getting a firmware update that will increase their torque to 85Nm. Very nice.
 

Dallant

Well-Known Member
BTW...I’ve found that the tires on the Allant+7 are the best balance for pavement and light gravel trails Ive ever owned. The front suspension (Mobie25) is adjustable and was a key reason I chose the Allant+7 over other bikes. I ride mine without motor most of the time and, while it weighs 47.5 lbs, it rides like a much lighter bike.
00BD6F2E-ED07-47B5-8C76-81A53C6791D8.jpeg
 

FlatSix911

Well-Known Member
Here's what I got out of the chat with the LBS.
Tire swap - hardest and least choice when moving to a larger width or thicker tire. Easy to find a different thread of the same size to match terrain. So probably means I should strike off some bikes which just don't come with the tire size or width I'm aiming for.
Seat post swap - Pretty normal and a lot of buyers go for it. Don't see a problem there.
Handlebar/stem swap - Hit or miss. Some manufacturers have custom components here. Sometimes you need longer cable runs for what you want to do so it gets pricey.
Derailleur/Envilio/Rohloff et al - Rider preference. Different costs and pros/cons. So really I need to try them all out and figure out what I like and it the price will also determine what I end up with :p
Torque - 65 Nm should be the minimum for my weight. Was told Bosch supports their motors for 7 years after production ends so don't discount the Gen 2s that still are available on some bikes. I think I'm going to still prefer a Gen 4 if I'm putting down that much money.
Suspension - For comfort and control a full suspension setup would be ideal for me. Didn't really hear anything about downsides to it like less rigidity. Again I'll need to test ride some options to feel the difference and the cost is a factor.

Good feedback from the LBS... a few comments: ;)
  • Tire swap is an easy and inexpensive performance upgrade... make sure the frame has adequate tire clearance.
  • Seat post swap is super easy and can provide additional comfort... check out the Satori Animaris suspension post.
  • Handlebar and stem swap is easy and can provide additional comfort... check for adequate cable slack with shifter and brakes.
  • Derailleur/Envilio/Rohloff et al is a complex subject... efficiency vs maintenance and I will refrain from going down the rabbit hole on this one.
  • Torque is multiplied by the rear gear cassette range and 60Nm should be fine as long as you are not climbing technical singletrack or rock gardens.
Take a look at the chart below for the torque ratings of various drive systems from the Big 4 OEMs... Brose, (Specialized) Bosch, Shimano, and Yamaha (Giant).
1594087406969.png
 

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Now for replies to everyone :D

@Dallant - yep the Allant+ 7 is still on my list. I must say it looks so much better in that photo than on the Trek website.

@byunbee - Hey! I've seen posts about WattWagons (usually from you 😉). The specs sound great with that torque and a throttle. But for me for now I'm going to have to stick to something I can pick up local. The only exception I may make to that is for the Moustache X-Road I mentioned earlier. But even that seems unlikely 🙁.

Sounds like the the IGHs cost upfront but then cost lest to run. I doubt they pay for themselves. So it's up to the rider's preference and budget. I'm really tempted by them because I want minimum fuss.

Speaking of budget I've deliberately left it out for now. Ebikes from all the brands I listed are not cheap. And then you have even more (?) premium offerings - Riese and Muller for example. I like R&M bikes on paper, on YouTube and I hear good things. But until I experience them I can't really say if I'll perceive the difference and if I do, it's enough to make me want to pay for it. That said I'm probably not going to get 2 R&M bikes at their prices.

I think I'll stick to mid drives.

Terrain will not include sand, snow. It will be dirt and paved for the most part. Mud hmmm, don't think much of it.

Suspension is still a question mark for me. I know I want front suspension. Do I want a rear setup as well? 🤔 Also is a saddle post suspension comparable to a rear frame coil/air suspension?

@Coolbob Hello! Giant's website is a real mess when it comes to finding their whole e-bike lineup. I did notice the LaFree mentioned here but couldn't find it when making my list. So it's a belt drive and IGH? I wonder if it's been phased out for 2020 and that's why I couldn't find it on the website easily. I can definitely see my wife appreciating not having to shift gears. And she's also going to be one particular on colour. One thing I would like for her bike as well is front suspension and I think those skip that.

Hi @Sierratim. I'm aware of the classes. It seems like the categorization and restrictions around them aren't always logical and are still evolving. Sigh. It's mostly trails and here in California most seem to be Class 1 friendly. That said I think I'm not going to limit myself to Class 1 bikes. We want a mix of trails and neighborhood streets. We don't plan to go over posted limits or ride recklessly when on trails - so we'll just have to use the bikes there and figure out how it goes.
I think i'm going to stick to the higher torque possible in the bikes I like - I rather have it and not need it, than not have it and wish I wanted it.

@FlatSix911 The LBS did mention the touch points I should watch out for when doing a tire mod - fenders, fork and frame. At this point I think a seat post suspension is going to happen if the bike doesn't already come with it 😝
I think that chart could use some more detail on which generation Bosch it's referring to. The 2020 CX is 85 Nm after the software upgrade I believe? Nice to see the Specialized naming in there.
 
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Dallant

Well-Known Member
QT..Just to let you know the only mods (if you can call them that) are the Trek base suspension seat post (ok but nothing compared to others), Serfas E-Gel seat (which I really like), Topeak under seat bag (a cheap but good bag), the bar ends and tape. I did also move the light up to the handlebar level, which was very easy and I really like. I have ordered the OneUp composite pedals to go with my new 510 Freerider MTB bike shoes. Oh, and I added the mirror.
 

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BTW another thing from the LBS was that the whole repair process with Bosch systems was a bit nicer since they could reach out to Bosch direct. With Brose and others they said it's typically support for the motor via the bike manufacturer. Not sure how much of a difference it would make practically to me.
 

Johnny

Well-Known Member
I have looked into some similar problems and here is my input:

The riding position puts too much weight on my wrists all the time. I’d love to be able to reduce that. I am aware that a more forward stance helps with control - which maybe required from time to time with the type of riding I want to do? I dunno.

Simply put you need an upright riding position and possibly the bike is small for you. You may not have the bike adjusted but even if you did the position is probably a bit too agressive for you. You can fix the riding position and make it very comfortable by installing a swept back handlebar. Jones loop bar with 2.5 inch seems like a very good choice since it does two things at once. A high quality adjustable stem is another option. These fixes applies to almost all bikes.


Assumption 2
I should use tires with a width between 2” to 3”. From what I could glean this width could be the best for the kind of surfaces we’re hoping to ride on.
As far as I can tell most hybrid bikes have wheels with a 27” - 28”. And that seems like the size I should aim for.

28/700c/29 all refer to the same diameter rims (622). For 622 rims your choice of 2"-3" is in the mountain bike range and usually referred as 29ers. So you want a mtb like bike not a hybrid. 27.5 on the other hand refers to 584mm rims. when you go over 2.8" they are usually called 27.5+

If you like 2-3" tires then cross the so called hybrid bikes off the list.

Assumption 4
Suspension - I think I’d need at least a front suspension. And a rear suspension would be nice but not necessary? I keep reading about seat post suspension which seems like it’s an added bonus and could be added to almost any bike I would pick up?

Since you want to go for beefy tires probably you are planning on going offroad. A full suspension significantly enchances your bikes handling capabilities not to mention the comfort. Seatpost suspension is not a bonus, just a mediocre add on that gives a "fraction" of the comfort but none of the handling bonuses of full suspension.

More importantly, Full suspension and just front suspension ebikes are very similar in weight. If you think you will need front suspension then you should definitely go full suspension.

Assumption 3
Motor torque - more is good for my weight and inability to handle gradients. I’ve not yet done any test rides to figure out what I really need. But more can’t hurt?

If you are asking this question then you should not worry about this question. At this stage trying to read torque numbers is not the right thing to do for you. Here is the simple rule, even the weak mid drives will let you climb a hill given the right gearing. But since you like to be safe here are the motors you should pick from:

Yamaha PWX
Brose S
Bosch Gen4 (CX or speed)
Shimano E8000


these are the top of the line offerings from each manufacturer and all of them are almost equally strong climbers. Brose S mag is the best overall but it is not common in US and if you are not buying locally it may be a bit hard to service if you need it.

And they seem to be for more of a middle path of roads and trails both.

Most of those bikes are not good for trails. You are probably saying this because you haven't had experience with the mtb like offerings. Most of those offerings don't have the clearance for tires wider than 2", they only have a low quality front fork suspension. A high quality suspension makes a world of a difference when riding on trails.


Maybe the components are general enough for any ebike shop to service though? I don’t prefer this but damn that one really fit my mental model the most.

Most bike companies are just mixing and matching components from major manufacturers. So yes almost all components except the belt drive/rohloff can be serviced by you or your lbs. For the motor, if you pick a Bosch motor any trek dealer can diagnose a problem or do updates.

Whoa the Allant+ 7 has mounts for a second battery - that's pretty neat for the price point.

Every bosch motor since gen 2 allows for a second battery, it doesn't add anything to the cost the only thing needed is space on the down tube.



Here is the advice:

1. If you are ok with 20mph and want to take the bike to the trails go for full suspension and change the handlebars or stem to adjust it for your comfort. That is the ultimate bike for you. Good FS bikes also come with very good brakes (like maguras) and a wide range cassette that will let you climb hills much easier. Unfortunately most of the bikes in your list does not fall in this criteria. So you need to change your filters.

2. If you want the best among the models you have given and money is not an issue then RM Delite/Superdelite with Rohloff. But rohloff will only make sense if you will put a lot of miles on the bike. Without rohloff RM is simply too expensive for what it brings, look into other brands' full suspension offerings.




And finally good luck in your next bike purchase.
 

David Berry

Well-Known Member
Twitch, I suggest that you both test ride the new R&M Nevo3. Its step-through design could be exactly what you need.

The Nevo was the first ebike that I rode: I should have bought it.

David
 
Twitch, I suggest that you both test ride the new R&M Nevo3. Its step-through design could be exactly what you need.
The Nevo was the first ebike that I rode: I should have bought it.

David

What did you land up with instead and why do you wish you had gone with the Nevo3?
 

indianajo

Well-Known Member
First the facts:
I’m 6’2” and 230 lbs. I’m not in great shape and never was able to cycle uphill or a steep incline. I just dismount and walk up. I have weak wrists and a weak lower back. I currently have a Giant Roam 2 (L frame) and have the following complaints:
  1. The riding position puts too much weight on my wrists all the time. I’d love to be able to reduce that. I am aware that a more forward stance helps with control - which maybe required from time to time with the type of riding I want to do? I dunno.
  2. The frame size feels wrong to me. I quite often hit my knees on the handlebars when making a turn. The top tube feels too high when I’m standing over the frame.
I think the LBS didn’t do a great size match when I bought it.

My wife is 5’1” and has left the choice of what to ride up to me with her only constraint being that her’s has got to be a step through frame.

Where we want to ride:
Primarily trails - paved and unpaved in nearby parks and reserves. And roads around our neighbourhood when we can’t get to trails.




Assumption 1
I should try to find a bike that allows a more upright position. Which leads to the preference below.

Preference 2
I want adjustable handlebars. To find a comfortable position that eases strain on my back and wrists. And to have the option to keep adjusting that when I need to. I don’t mind dropping it a bit when I want a lower position for some rides.

Assumption 2
I should use tires with a width between 2” to 3”. From what I could glean this width could be the best for the kind of surfaces we’re hoping to ride on.
As far as I can tell most hybrid bikes have wheels with a 27” - 28”. And that seems like the size I should aim for.

Assumption 3
Motor torque - more is good for my weight and inability to handle gradients. I’ve not yet done any test rides to figure out what I really need. But more can’t hurt?


Drivetrain: Derailleur, Envilio or Rohloff?
I think this only affects R&M bikes since not many other manufacturers seem to have anything except derailleur setups?
One thing not discussed much previously is frame size. If you are a leggy 74" with long arms, a 23" frame would probably not be a problem. If your wife is 61" with long arms & legs, 18" might be fine, although 61" men with shorter arms can ride a 17". Any frame you buy, make sure you can reach the ground with both feet when stopped, while still having the legs almost straight (not quite) with the pedal at the bottom.
I too have trouble with my hands going to sleep by forward (MTB) position, and ride straight up like Mary Poppins on the carrousel. One problem that can result is that unnoticed bumps like pavement separators, sticks in the road, or speed bumps at dusk, can rip the handlebars out of my hands, throw the front wheel sideways, and throw me over the handlebars onto my chin. Have done that 5 times in 59 years. Modern frames have "quick" steering, which leaves out the stability my Mother's 1946 Firestone bike had with the same tires as today (26" x 2"). I've found loading my weight onto the front tire with a stretch frame cargo bike has solved the problem, at least in the last 5000 miles I've had no accidents. I ride a yubabikes bodaboda for small people, but they do have a bigger frame. Other noted brands you could probably find in the bay area are xtracycle and reiss & mueller. I like the turned back handlebars of the bodaboda as opposed to the flat position handlbars I had previously on a couple of mountain bikes. Causes less pain and numbness for me. One negative of yubabikes versus your plans to swap handlebars & risers, yubabikes have non-standard stem & seat post diameters that can't be swapped with anything else.
Derailleur versus IGH. Derailleur can be fiddly and require a lot of adjustment. The problem on my $200 discount store MTB's was, I believe, cheap weak shifter cables that stretched all the time. The bodaboda has a premium cable with SRAM shifter that requires no adjustment. If one buys a bike with cheap cables, they can be replaced by Clarks or Jaguar, available from bike supplies. BTW IGH drags about 10% versus derailleur. 8 or more sets of gears are whirling around all the time.
Another item not mentioned is chain wear. I have 8 speed chain, no mid drive, and I got 5000 miles or 2 1/2 years out of my first chain. 9 to 11 speed (rear cluster size) chain is thinner and lasts less long. IGH chain should be 8 to 7 speed width and last longer, although any mid drive will wear out more chains than a hub drive bike.
Torque of the motor is not an issue unless the rider refuses to downshift on hills and upshift on the flats. I have a 32:32 ratio on my bike that will allow me to ride up 15% with 60 lb of groceries at 1 mph with no power at all from the motor. I have a 52:11 ratio that allows me to help the motor with my feet at 25 mph. You & your wife should practice shifting in the bay area as there are certainly substantial hills in certain parts of it.
Happy shopping.
 
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