HYBRID COMMUTER/LIGHT TRAIL BIKE

Browneye

Well-Known Member
I think I found this in my Giant Explore, but I always recommend you visit as many local bike shops in your locale as you can stand, and try out as many ebikes that interest you as possible. You'll gain first hand knowledge of what appeals to you, an ability to differentiate between various drive systems on the market, and be able to recognize a deal when you see one. Besides, it's a lot of fun.

Choosing a competent dealer can be the difference between joy and dispair with your ebike experience. But many forego it all and buy mail-order. It all depends on risk aversion, perceived value, and confidence in your own abilities to keep your ebike running efficiently.

Good luck, and let us know what you find out there. Lots of great reviews here, and plenty of helpful owners for virtually every brand and model.
 

izsme1

New Member
I think I found this in my Giant Explore, but I always recommend you visit as many local bike shops in your locale as you can stand, and try out as many ebikes that interest you as possible. You'll gain first hand knowledge of what appeals to you, an ability to differentiate between various drive systems on the market, and be able to recognize a deal when you see one. Besides, it's a lot of fun.

Choosing a competent dealer can be the difference between joy and dispair with your ebike experience. But many forego it all and buy mail-order. It all depends on risk aversion, perceived value, and confidence in your own abilities to keep your ebike running efficiently.

Good luck, and let us know what you find out there. Lots of great reviews here, and plenty of helpful owners for virtually every brand and model.
Thanks. Giant Explore E+ GTS is one I've been looking at
 

izsme1

New Member
Length of commute? Are there much in the way of hills on this commute?
There a couple pretty steep hills for work and the trails I like to ride. I also like to ride to the beach and back which is relatively flat...about 18 mi RT
 

Browneye

Well-Known Member
Thanks. Giant Explore E+ GTS is one I've been looking at
I liked it so well I got the sister bike to it for the wife. 😇

There are plenty of options out there for sure, so it can be confusing. I always recommend a new ebiker at least check out the big-3 - Trek, Specialized, and Giant - they sell the most bikes in north America, have a solid reputation, and an excellent dealer network. Some of those dealers (Trek dealers can only sell Trek and Electra bikes) offer other brands, new up and comers, and some popular alternate brands and models. It pays dividends to at least look in your own backyard, then venture out from there if you don't find something that clicks.

RadPower ebikes from Seattle has really grown in popularity, and they have set up demo/rental centers around the country to introduce the brand. I know a number of people that have them and like them.
Aventon is another brand that gets sold through dealers, seem to have a very good reputation as well. I nearly bought a 'pace' model for the wife - they are so very much like our Specialized Roll hub conversion.
There's also Magnum, Bulls, Haibike, and several others that show up at various independent dealers. All worth looking at, checking out.

And yes, I started out with all this by installing a kit on a bike we already owned. It worked reasonably well, and continues to perform, but did fail fairly early on and took two months to get parts and get it working again. So I hesitate to recommend mail-order and kit bikes due to spotty support. There surely is some popularity with them though.

Come on over to the Giant section and do some browsing. Great bunch of owners and lots of information to share. Same for the other big-3 brands as well.

EDIT: I see from your profile you're in LA. I'm in Orange County. Tons of bike shops here, lots to choose from. I found everything I need right here in our local area.
BTW, RadPower has one of their demo centers in Newport Beach. And most all of the bike shops have demo bikes, or will at least let you try out a bike in their parking lot. Jax is a very popular Trek dealer - they have the VERVE+ - but they've had pretty restricted access to their shops with this pandemic, and no demos. I know they have a location in Long Beach. Worth checking out. Most Specialized dealers also sell a variety of other brands as well. Lots of ebikes in Newport Beach. 👍

EDIT2: The pandemic has caused a huge surge in users and buyers, and local stocks are really depleted. You'll likely have trouble finding bikes in stock. I was at the local Trek store a week or so ago and they unloaded a whole semi-truck full of Electra bikes, so I know they have those to sell.
 
Last edited:

izsme1

New Member
Cool. Thanks. Doesn't look like Trek or Specialized have bikes in that price range with suspension forks like the Giant. I had a refular Giant Trance I loved but it got stolen. What year is your Explore because I see a 2018 in stock in Culver City but not sure what upgrades have been made to 2020 version?
 

Browneye

Well-Known Member
The Trek VERVE+ is pretty close. It's a little less power, and no suspension fork. Nice bike however, very well fit out.
A spring fork is a bit over rated for a road bike - a balloon tire will do nearly as good a job of soaking up expansion cracks and drive aprons and such.
Specialized is pretty proud of their bikes, and tend to be the high-price leader. The Como and VAdo are both more, but both very nice bikes. Again, I recommend you check out and try them all if you can.

A 2018? Wow, there seems to be a few old-stock bikes around. Another new forum member just got a LIV Amiti, 2018 model. Not sure what city/locale though. East coast I think.
As long as it's a new bike in the crate, or new on the floor, and not a demo or used bike, they should be fine. The battery pack is very expensive - you don't want a degraded one to start. The Giant packs are very nice, and heavy duty, have been dead-reliable.

The major difference between 18, 19, and 20, is the assist controls and electronics. The frame and bike, Yamaha assist drive, are all the same for the SyncDrive Sport. The 'pro' motor got some updates for 2020 - the one they use in the mountain bikes and racing roadbikes.
For 2020 two more sensors were added to the motor control for incline slope sensing which works in conjunction with an 'auto-mode'. It senses rider demand and adjusts the assist level automatically. This is an update from the 2019.

The 2018 had an LCD display in conjunction with the control pad. For 2019 they did away with the display - there were a lot of issues with moisture ingress - and went to a more waterproof control pad on the bar, plus a bluetooth connection to a smartphone app for things you would normally find on a display, like odo, trip, average, even has a navigation feature with gps. Most like it, some have trouble with it with their own phone device. I have three bikes on two iphones, no issues, works great.

We just went over all this over on this thread: https://electricbikereview.com/forums/threads/liv-amiti-e-2-2018-vs-amiti-e-4.34303/#post-284070
Pics of control features, etc. and the changes in models from 2018 to 2020.

The Amiti is the ladies version of the Explore. Interesting the Explore is also available as a step-thru, so the Amiti is just a ladies color, exact same bike.

The yamaha drive system is one of, if not THE best. Definitely the most reliable, but others surely enjoy their Bosch, Brose, Shimano, Bafang, and other various hub-drive systems as well. I have test-ridden them all and they all work great.
 
Last edited:

TMH

Well-Known Member
Jim Felt was very well known and had an excellent reputation in acoustic mountain bikes. I believe that his high quality and design have carried over to his e-bikes.

I have a Felt SportE 50 which is a fully rigid commuter/cross trainer type bike with thinner tires which would work better on the pavement as compared to the Redemption you reference. But obviously the Redemption would be a better bike for off road riding.

You might find that the Redemption loses a good deal of pedaling efficiency on the street due to the off road tires, the hard pedaling induced bounce of the full suspension (which likely you can lock out) and the extra weight of the full suspension system. I also have found that my personal preference for the Shimano STEPS E8000 motor would be on a mountain bike instead of a street bike. I like to ride fast and the E8000 really hits a wall when you get towards the 20mph maximum assistance speed. (Of course this could be rectified using a tuning chip or with other methods, which likely would invalidate your motor's warranty).

One other note: I have purchased a bike (also to CA) from that specific eBay vendor, and there was not a single hitch in the purchase process. Just an n=1, but they were great in my book.

From your original post yesterday the first thing I thought of for you would be something like a Haibike Trekking. I recently purchased an SDURO Trekking 7.0 (2019 model) at a discount, and I liked it so much that I then purchased another one for my wife. (It makes things a lot easier when you ride equivalent bikes with your SO). These had been on close-out at ebikes508.com for $2,499 with free shipping and no sales tax, so it had just barely met your price criteria. Unfortunately most sizes are now sold out, and they have raised their price to $2,799.

But this bike (or similar) would be awesome for commuting and some light trail work. Wide enough tires to be comfortable and not give up too much efficiency when commuting on the street, or air them down just a bit and they should have enough bite on lighter trails. The Bosch motor on the 7.0 has a nice 75nm of torque and I have found that with this bike I can pedal through the 20mph top assist speed pretty easily, maintaining at least 22-23 mph. (This will be rectified by a PearTune MSO tuning chip - which removes the 20mph assist cut-off - as soon as I finally get them from my eBay order).

It does look like they still have a couple left in frame sizes Medium and Large (and understand that the Haibike Trekking frames are thought by most to run on the larger size of the spectrum).

Good luck in your search, and take what advice you can get from Browneye - he knows his stuff.

Haibike Trekking 7.0
 

BlackHand

Active Member
You've already gotten some good advice there. I have a similar use case as you and started with the same budget you're looking at and ended up with a Haibike Trekking 9.0 similar the model TMH mentioned but with integrated battery and the Class. In the $1500-2500 price range you're mostly looking internet purchased hub drives with cadence sensors although torque sensors are starting to be more common on the newer models. $2500-$3500 pretty much opens up to all the major brands that are sold and supported by LBS.

For me, 95% of my riding time will be spent commuting so I looked for a bike that would make a good commuter but could handle light trails for those times when I get out of the city. My Trekking S 9.0 will be fine on forest service roads and rail trails, but no way I'm taking it down a serious single track.

If you do end up with an eMTB, then you may want to invest in a second wheel set with road tires for the commute. Be sure to take that into account with your budget along with a rack and fenders if needed for commuting.

FYI: Sand Diego Fly Rides has the lo-step version of the Trekking 7 still listed at @$2499. Haibike lo-steps would be called mid-step with any other brand.

Cube also makes some nice bikes that straddle the line between commuter and trail bike pretty well. Looks like they are pretty much sold out all over, but San Diego Fly Rides does have one model listed in stock for $2599.
 
  • Like
Reactions: TMH

TMH

Well-Known Member
FYI: Sand Diego Fly Rides has the lo-step version of the Trekking 7 still listed at @$2499. Haibike lo-steps would be called mid-step with any other brand.

Cube also makes some nice bikes that straddle the line between commuter and trail bike pretty well. Looks like they are pretty much sold out all over, but San Diego Fly Rides does have one model listed in stock for $2599.
I totally agree - The Haibike lo-step gives a bit lower standover height, but definitely still provides the rigidity benefit of the diamond frame (and looks good as well).

Thanks. Seems like there's too many good options
But... with things selling out in the current hot e-bike market, fewer are remaining available each day, and prices are going up!
 

Grison

New Member
We tried to get a pair of Trekking 7's from San Diego Fly Rides, but apparently they are long gone. (They said they would update the web site.) Now considering the Explore/Amiti E+ and other alternatives.

Our use case is similar to the original poster -- wanting something for a mix of around-town use, paved bike trails, and occasional fire roads or easy trails. We might even try some bikepacking. My wife and I both still own mountain bikes from the 90's, but our single-track days are decidedly behind us. We still like riding and backpacking, though, and are hoping that e-bikes will help us spend more time exploring despite our imperfect fitness/knees...
 
  • Like
Reactions: TMH