Help with our first ebikes

David Berry

Well-Known Member
What did you land up with instead and why do you wish you had gone with the Nevo3?
I've owned three ebikes. On a five-star rating system:
* (not recommended) : Kalkhoff Integrale; 11-speed Shimano Alfine Di2 hub gear​
** (not recommended) : Riese & Müller Homage GX; E-14 Rohloff​
**** (recommended) : Trek Powerfly 5​
The Kalkhoff (4,000 km) and Homage (18,000 km), despite being fabulous bikes to ride, failed repeatedly in terms of reliability. None of their failures was covered by warranty (a major mark against those brands). The Trek Powerfly (9,000 km) has had one minor glitch which was fixed promptly and at no charge.

The Nevo looks like a solid ebike with a sensible way of mounting the second battery – one of the Homage's weak links (literally). I suspect that the Nevo could prove to be more rugged than the Homage on rough roads and trails.
 
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Sierratim

Well-Known Member
Here's some more comparative mid-drive motor data Specialized published a couple of years ago. Being a couple of years old it doesn't include the newest Yamaha or Bosh offerings but the Specialized data is current. Their 2.1 motor is used in their MTBs, the 1.3 in the Como/Vado 5s, the 1.2 in the Como/Vado 4 and the 1.2e in the 3 series.

mceclip11.png mceclip9.png

Grin Technologies also has an online motor simulator at https://www.ebikes.ca/tools/simulator.html that models more motor options. This simulator is fun in that you can check out different motors with various batteries, rider + bike weights and route grades, even getting estimates of speeds up various grades. I used this to select the motors for our first ebike dIy conversions and found it quite accurate.
 
For all the dealers Trek has, I still haven't been able to schedule a test ride for the Allant+ 7.

I've had luck getting something lined up for test riding R&M, Bulls, Gazelle, Haibike.

I'm currently interested in the Bulls cycles the most from those. They offer Gen4 CX/Brose TF/Brose S mag on a few of their models. They also don't cost as much as R&M. Plus the Lacuba Evo Lite has a Carbon Gates Drive - I'm interested in how it rides.

Gazelle comes across as too urban for my needs.
 

Johnny

Well-Known Member
@David Berry , @FlatSix911 , @indianajo all given very good advice to you. They have extensive experience on different bikes, different terrains and maybe you should listen to their advice.

If your intention is to ride on trails then Allant+7 is not the right choice, it doesn't have a good range cassette and its front fork is a cheap suntour coil fork .

If you want to go Trek look into Powerfly or Rail (powerfly seem to have the clearance for a second battery, Rail may not) series, they have much better components , Good suspension, good cassette range(this will be important when you are climbing steep hills), good tire clearance and same motor.
 
@Johnny I haven't neglected to heed that advice. For Bulls I've adjusted my list to trial ride these which seem to be more in line with the advice here:
Copperhead Evo AM (which variant will depend on what's in stock)
E-stream Evo 45 AM
E-stream Evo AM 3
Copperhead Evo HD

I've got these which I gather are not the right ones for trail riding - but I may want to trial ride them:
Cross Lite Evo Wave
Iconic Evo TR1 Speed
Lacuba Evo Lite Wave
Lacuba Evo 45

I going through the lists for each manufacturer and trying to go more MTB than hybrid.

I read a bit about suspension component tiers - but before I start asking about that I want to get some trials in so I can start getting advice on the pros and cons between specific models.

Whats a good cassette range you think I should look for? Also let me know if my filters need more adjustment based on the updated list for Bulls.

Thanks for pointing me in the right direction.
 

indianajo

Well-Known Member
Whats a good cassette range you think I should look for? Also let me know if my filters need more adjustment based on the updated list for Bulls.

What parts of the Bay area are you riding in? My bike left was re-equipped with 24 speeds down to 1:1 because purchasers of previous models in SF couldn't get up the hills downtown (unpowered) with a child seat, child, and accessories. If you are not riding down there, you don't need such an extreme low range.
 

Johnny

Well-Known Member
Copperhead Evo AM (which variant will depend on what's in stock)
E-stream Evo 45 AM
E-stream Evo AM 3

All of these 3 are very nice bikes. You didn't state if you like 28mph or 20mph cutoff but if you like to ride on the trails legally then 20mph is the choice but if you think high speed is a necessity then the following suggestions will change.

Among these my first pick would be Copperhead Evo AM , since it comes with excellent components , Fox 36 float front suspension, quad piston mt5 brakes front and back, and a very wide range 10-51 cassette with 12 speed sx eagle derailleur. It is coming with cx4 + 625wh which is nice.
My second would be Evo AM 3, Brose S mag with 750wh battery is an excellent combo, although this one also have very good components which should be more than enough for you, it is still a step back from the first option so it depends on the price for the same price I would pick the first one.

Emtbs come with a bit of an agressive geometry so when you are test riding keep in mind that you can change the handlebar(with a swept back hendlebar, you will have many different hand positions several being very upright and comfortable) to significantly improve that aspect of these bikes as long as you pick the right size (your lbs will help you with picking the right size) to begin with.


Whats a good cassette range you think I should look for?

IMO you should go with at least 11/42 and more if possible(that is %380+ range).

Cross bikes are ok, they are mostly emtbs with less tire clearance and lighter duty suspension components/brakes/derailleur. I own one(my first bike, was in your shoes I thought it would be good allaround) which is very much like the hardtail bikes in your second set(there is one full suspension and it is nice but if 28mph is not necessary then the ones in your first batch are better). These bikes are good for gravel and pavement but only ride-able(and not comfortable) on trails. Once you ride an emtb with higher end components you immediately see the limitations of the cross. With my cross bike I try to avoid even tree roots and try to stay on the path because it simply can not absorb the shocks enough and loses traction otherwise. With my emtb I go offroad and run over these obstacles on purpose, it makes riding on the trails very pleasant.

When you are test riding see if your lbs let's you take it to a steep hill or a bit of a rough terrain/trails. On flat pavement it is not easy to see the differences of the two bikes.

Don't rush, try as many bikes as you can and good luck.
 
You didn't state if you like 28mph or 20mph cutoff but if you like to ride on the trails legally then 20mph is the choice but if you think high speed is a necessity then the following suggestions will change.

I don't know until I try it. My guess is more speed could be fun. But since all trails allow Class 1 around here, I won't be able to go past 20.

Emtbs come with a bit of an agressive geometry so when you are test riding keep in mind that you can change the handlebar(with a swept back hendlebar, you will have many different hand positions several being very upright and comfortable) to significantly improve that aspect of these bikes as long as you pick the right size (your lbs will help you with picking the right size) to begin with.

That was the reason none were on my list initially because I felt it wouldn't be easy to get a more relaxed riding position by swapping out components.

I still haven't found a step through FS for my wife and I don't think that would exist. There are some women specific offerings from Giant (https://www.liv-cycling.com/us/bikes/electric-bikes/electric-mountain-bikes) and Trek (https://www.trekbikes.com/us/en_US/...fly-5-womens/p/30579/?colorCode=tealdark_teal) which might work. Will have to discuss it with my wife. But it will take some convincing since she was set on a step through. That's why the Copperhead Evo HD Wave is in there. Best I could find.

Really liked the look of the Trek and Giant eMTB line up. Going to have to track down some shops for test rides.

BTW I stumbled upon numerous complaints of the Brose Mag S failing on Specialized Levos. Here and on eMTB forums. Makes me worry about whether that is specific to the Levo because of some tuning for Specialized or the motor in general has a high failure rate? Anyone care to comment on that?
 
I'm going to be able to try out the Trek Rail 7 this week. I was looking at the Powerfly and the Rail series. Powerfly has some hard tails and FS. Rail is all FS. There are plenty of variants in each I'm sure the components are better as the MSRP increases. But what's the fundamental difference between the Powerfly and Rail series? The geometry looks similar. Powerfly starts at 4799 and goes up to 12499 and Rail at 4999 up to 6000. So the lower and mid end of the line up in both could be comparable spec wise with the Rail adding some really high end components at the top end? Anything else?
 

Johnny

Well-Known Member
I'm going to be able to try out the Trek Rail 7 this week. I was looking at the Powerfly and the Rail series. Powerfly has some hard tails and FS. Rail is all FS. There are plenty of variants in each I'm sure the components are better as the MSRP increases. But what's the fundamental difference between the Powerfly and Rail series? The geometry looks similar. Powerfly starts at 4799 and goes up to 12499 and Rail at 4999 up to 6000. So the lower and mid end of the line up in both could be comparable spec wise with the Rail adding some really high end components at the top end? Anything else?

Powerfly is their older lineup(FS powerfly models seem to come with the older gen motor), for the new gen motors I think they are only doing hardtail powerfly and the new Rail is only FS. Trek, giant etc are not the best when it comes to value for money. Unfortunately right now is the worst time to buy and ebike too (3-4 months ago there were amazing deals, you could have found offerings from Haibike, Raleigh with same or better componentry than Rail 7 in the 3-3.5K range).

You are in Bay area so if you can try some other options like Haibike do so. They have very nice models, great build quality, you may find a deal on the prev gen Bosch models or you may like the new ones that come with Yamaha pw-x2 which also is a very nice motor.
 
Local Giant dealer has the Trance and Stance available to try out - will being doing that soon as well.

Trek, giant etc are not the best when it comes to value for money.
And here I thought they were cheaper than Bulls :p. So I guess if you have a similar Trek/Giant and Bulls - the Bulls will have better components?

Unfortunately right now is the worst time to buy and ebike too (3-4 months ago there were amazing deals, you could have found offerings from Haibike, Raleigh with same or better componentry than Rail 7 in the 3-3.5K range).
Such is life.

You are in Bay area so if you can try some other options like Haibike do so. They have very nice models, great build quality, you may find a deal on the prev gen Bosch models or you may like the new ones that come with Yamaha pw-x2 which also is a very nice motor.
Yup I've got my sights on Haibike too.
 

Johnny

Well-Known Member
And here I thought they were cheaper than Bulls :p. So I guess if you have a similar Trek/Giant and Bulls - the Bulls will have better components?

I can't say that, you should compare it model by model. MSRP wise they are similar but with these EU brands it is easier to find deals while Trek/Giant are pretty much same price all year long (their sales are usually only $200-300 dollars off).

BTW you don't need the best components, you should still be able to find very capable bikes in the 3-4K range(For example a Reba(around $500) is a very good fork and for casual/recreational riders a pike($700-900) for example will not bring much over it).
 
BTW you don't need the best components, you should still be able to find very capable bikes in the 3-4K range(For example a Reba(around $500) is a very good fork and for casual/recreational riders a pike($700-900) for example will not bring much over it).
👍


For now I prefer going into a shop to buy over BBB - don't mind buying used, but you won't get fitted and you're sizes are limited to what's available on the market at the time.
 

FlatSix911

Well-Known Member
👍
For now, I prefer going into a shop to buy over BBB - don't mind buying used, but you won't get fitted and you're sizes are limited to what's available on the market at the time.

No worries... BBB is a great option for Bay Area locals who can go to their warehouse and test ride a large number of different Ebikes.

Not sure if they are still doing the retail walk-in sales during Covid, however, the website ordering and shipping is available. YMMV ;)
 
Yesterday I rode an ebike for the first time! It was a lot of fun.

Got quite a few test rides in.

First was a visit to an Giant dealer. I could only ride the bikes around the parking lot. There was a small loose gravel patch in the lot.

Trance E+ 3
Felt the motor vibrate a little when my foot was on the pedal and the brakes were engaged. That went away as soon as I let go of the brakes and I was off. It felt amazing - apart from the too forward stance and probably too small frame. It ate up the gravel patch as if it wasn't there. Really understood what those wide tires are capable of.

Stance E+ 2
  1. Frame felt heavier than the Trance.
  2. Pedaling effort was the same or no noticeable difference.
  3. Rear shock I felt was softer - it went down as soon as I sat on the bike.
  4. Saddle was more uncomfortable - even though it looked the same as the Trance. So perhaps that means the geometry.

Explore E+ 4
  1. Saddle felt a lot more comfy. Probably has something to do with the geometry of the bike too.
  2. Liked the grips on this one compared to MTBs.
  3. Narrower tires made it more nimble on pavement. But on the loose gravel I make out why you'd want wide tires.
The motor for all three felt the same for pedaling effort even though they all had slightly different motors. I think because the test ride was only on flat surfaces it was hard to discern a difference. All of them had the slight vibration when starting off - with the foot on the pedal and releasing the brake. I chatted with the rep about swapping out handle bars and getting a different stem. They had a single handle bar option for the Trance/Stance that didn't do anything for reach.

On to the next LBS. Test ride was on streets with climbs and descents.

R&M Supercharger Rohloff
  1. Heavy but well planted on the road.
  2. Didn't really enjoy shifting gears with the +/- buttons. And the shifts felt un-natural to me. The gear number indicator on the display was useful. The auto down shift on stop is neat.
  3. Like the grips.
  4. Stance was OK, felt a bit too forward, maybe I need to adjust my seat more.
Haibike XDuro Allmtn 2.0
  1. Automatic assistance mode is amazing. It got what I wanted right and I didn't loose confidence in it and feel I need to handle assistance manually.
  2. Demo bike frame size was too small for me.
  3. Grips not comfy.
  4. Derailleur shifting felt so much better!
  5. Saddle uncomfy - but that's an easy fix.
  6. Too forward stance.
  7. Battery is exposed - would have preferred partially or fully enclosed.
Bulls Evo Stream Evo AM4
  1. Brose S was the quietest and smoothest of the lot.
  2. Easy shifts with the derailleur setup but the Haibike shifts felt better. I assume the component difference accounts for that.
  3. Again too forward stance.
Bulls Copperhead AM 1
  1. Derailleur setup and I was able to concentrate more on the motor feel with this. Bosch felt the noisiest of the lot.
  2. The power delivery felt odd. There's a delay and kick of power when starting from a stop. I couldn't make out if it happens on all or some assistance levels.
  3. Motor felt engaged for a small amount of time after you stop pedaling. Didn't like that.
  4. Automatic mode was good. But the Yamaha automatic mode inspired more confidence
R&M Nevo 3 NuVinci
  1. Seat and stance was very comfy compared to all the others.
  2. Noticed what rear suspension does for you. On this one every bump the rear wheel went over could be felt.
  3. Like the NuVinco shifting even less than the Rolhoff. The twist grip was too hard to change - that turned out to be too tight and was loosened after my ride. But even then I don't think we'd go for that.

LBS was really good talking through the options. Was patient with all my note taking too.

All in all a good day - was quite saddle sore after all that. But had some clarity on what I'm dealing with.
  • No belt drives for me, I find derailleurs more to my liking for now.
  • Couldn't firmly say any one of the motors (CX Gen 4/ PW-X2 / Brose S mag) was a clear winner for me. That's going to need more riding.
  • MTB stances are way to aggressive for full time riding for me. I need to swap out the saddles, handlebars and stem. Now comes the sad part - the Bulls use their own stems, which LBS said would not be possible to swap out. I would have to rely on handlebar swaps only 😢
The last one is a bummer - anyone know of stem mods for Bulls people have tried out? Forgot to check how easy Haibike makes it to swap out a stem.
 

Johnny

Well-Known Member
That looks like a great test day, you are taking the right approach by test riding them and now in first person having a feel of

Now comes the sad part - the Bulls use their own stems, which LBS said would not be possible to swap out. I would have to rely on handlebar swaps only 😢

Jones has an elevated version(2.5" which is a lot) of their famous loop bars (these handlebars are very popular among tourers for their comfort, space and options of different hand positions) https://www.jonesbikes.com/jones-h-bar-loop-sg-2-5-aluminum-loop/ which eliminates the need for a stem swap. @FlatSix911 can give you more info on them.