I have to admit - I almost backed out of buying an ebike after joining EBR - glad I didn't

alphacarina

Active Member
Region
USA
This is by far the premium forum on the web for ebike research and I think as members we all need to keep that in mind when we post our comments. We want to welcome newcomers to ebiking and build the sport. It's one thing to tell someone that the ebike they are considering is an entry level model and they might be in the long run better served with a more expensive bike if they can easily swing it. It's another thing to say 'your bike is a piece of crap. Unless you want to spend 5 grand, forget about ebikes'. That's the difference between class and pettiness.
And of course it is just common sense that for a newbie in any sport, you should start with an entry level piece of equipment to learn the sport, learn what features are most important for you before you spend big bucks on something that may not be well suited to you personally. Did you buy a $2,500 set of Callaways when you first took up golf?? Enough said

You do read here and other places too about people who jump into eBiking with both feet, buy something for 3 or 4 grand and then end up selling it at a considerable loss to move on to something better suited to them. Not all of us have that sort of cash to waste

In a year or two, if you decide to trade up, likely you won't lose much selling your Rad, and since you got such a great deal on it, maybe nothing at all. So at the very least, you're going to get a good education into what makes the perfect ride for you and IMO you should be breaking your arm patting yourself on the back for NOT spending big bucks right out of the gate on something that might not turn out to be 'right'. Few people are lucky enough to find the best fit on the first try without starting with something to learn the ropes on . . . . and I think that's what you bought, isn't it?

Don.
 

Pobidz

Member
Region
USA
City
Twin Cities, MN
I kinda get where OP is coming from with feeling hesitant about getting an ebike. I've not been psyched out so much by jabs at my bike choices or the bike culture, but by my lack of familiarity with bicycle repair. I'm not completely hopeless with tools, but I am intimidated at the prospect of working in a tight space on an unfamiliar, expensive bike and wondered if I should even be buying something that could so easily break and need repair when I'm not exactly flush with knowledge nor cash. And what if I hate it?

Skimming through maintenance walkthrough articles, reading threads about troubleshooting, and watching repair videos on youtube have been stressing me out enough that I've been putting off looking for a test ride a bit (plus the local dealers have been out of the bikes I wanted). Now that I've watched and read so much, I do feel a bit more confident and I forced myself to go out and get most of the basic tools I'll need for upkeep, so I really have no reason to procrastinate on the test rides any more. I hope I have that same first ride experience you did!
 

J.R.

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
I've ridden bikes and motorcycles since the 60's and was a daily bike commuter in 2014 when I stumbled across ebikes. EBR forum was brand new, I believe the forum was started in November or December 2013. I didn't immediately join the forum, but read all I could in the first few months of '14. I guess I felt I knew bikes very well, did all my own repairs and maintenance and I didn't feel the need to ask questions. Maybe I should have, maybe I'm stubborn. The forum had a membership of hundreds and probably 50 regular contributors. Court had maybe dozens of review videos, he and Pete of the other EBR (Electric Bike Report) seemed to be the most reliable sources of information.

So I hung around and read, all the while commuting 34 miles round trip. The hills were getting steeper, so I picked an ebike that I thought would work for me. I jumped in with both feet. The bike cost $2,295 in 2014, not cheap then, not high-end by far. My first ebike year I rode more than 6,000 miles. I bought another ebike, but that first bike is still going today. The battery has lost half its capacity, other than that the only thing it has needed is normal maintenance that any bike requires.

I'm a fair shade tree mechanic and maybe I've been a little lucky. I think there are a lot of good ebikes available today. I know a lot of other ebikers and not one that I know of has had a catastrophic failure. Nobody I know in real life cares whether you ride a $6k or a $1k ebike. We need to put some perspective on all the negative stories posted online. People are more likely to post the negatives about bikes and people, but I know a lot of happy ebikers.

The day you start riding is the day you start getting younger. Said one anonymous ebiker: Its only a hill, get over it!

:)
 

Gordon71

Well-Known Member
I joined EBR a couple of months ago because I was planning on buying an ebike and wanted to do a little research. My reasons for wanting an ebike were pretty simple: I'm 62, starting to find myself avoiding certain routes with a lot of hills and cutting my rides shorter. I want to get the same exercise with less work and more mileage.
But I have to admit that I almost got talked out of it. I found I would read a lot of great things about ebikes here, but it also exposed me to some of the problems, people criticizing other models of bikes, or brands they did not like. Basically, things that make you go hmmm....
I've been riding the same Iron Horse hybrid bike I bought new in 1990 for the past 30 years. It's never left me on the side of the road, never had to call the company warranty line. Basically, I've gotten a tune up done every couple of years and had the tires replaced when needed. That's about it. I was beginning to think, 'do I really want to deal with batteries etc., just to get a little help up the hills?' If you had asked me last week (and my wife did) if I was still planning to buy an ebike I would have said 'nah, I think I'm going to hold off and ride my old hybrid for another year while I think about it some more.'
Well, yesterday a friend who has way too much money offered me a deal on his almost brand new RadMini because he had decided he wanted a different toy. It was one of those 'you really can't lose' opportunities and I took it.
Today I rode an ebike for the first time, other than the brief spin I took on it yesterday when he showed me how it worked. I was working from home today and had about an hour free after lunch. It was fairly cold, so I decided to just go out to the end of my street, take a short ride and see how it worked up the long hill near my place.
About 20 miles later, I turned back into my driveway. I rode that thing over an hour and a half up every hilly road I knew, I went down roads I normally wouldn't even take because they are so hilly. I'd probably still be out there, except I wasn't really dressed for such a long ride in the cold and I did have to get back to work.
I am SO happy I didn't chicken out of buying one!
Glad you like the mini. I'm 72 and bought a Rad Rover ST a year ago last April. Really like it so far (2300 miles). Liked it so much I recently ordered a Rad Mini ST so I can easily take the bike in my car to other locations to ride it.
 

soyabean

Active Member
Region
Canada
This thread is really moot if one deals with a LBS with full service and support.

I have zero sympathy for anyone here where "internet mail order" didn't work out for them. Yeah, that's the regret in not dealing with a LBS.
 

AHicks

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Snow Bird - Summer S.E. Michigan, Winter Gulf Coast North Central Fl.
This thread is really moot if one deals with a LBS with full service and support.

I have zero sympathy for anyone here where "internet mail order" didn't work out for them. Yeah, that's the regret in not dealing with a LBS.
So an opposing view might look like this:
I have zero sympathy for folks left helpless on the side of a path/trail because they depend solely on their LBS to keep their bike running..... and are clueless when it comes to the basic functionality of their bike.

Who is "right"? Or should we just make room for each other and not worry about it?
 

ElevenAD

Well-Known Member
This thread is really moot if one deals with a LBS with full service and support.

I have zero sympathy for anyone here where "internet mail order" didn't work out for them. Yeah, that's the regret in not dealing with a LBS.
yeah awesome,they didnt buy their bike where you buy yours so they deserve misfortune? There are plenty of folks here with LBS horror stories and imo it sucks and i feel awful for them just like people with online purchase horror stories.
 

alphacarina

Active Member
Region
USA
I'm sure there *are* some absolutely fabulous Local Bike Stores where the owner and all his employees are 100% honest and would NEVER take advantage of a single customer . . . . and then, there are the others. . . . . and then, there are those of us who don't live within 100 miles of any LBS, let alone a perfect one - So we mail order something, come here to learn about it . . . . and get trashed because we're not 'supporting' some LBS somewhere. There are probably several hundred different makes and models of eBikes, and your LBS stocks how many of them? Can you test ride the ones you want?

Some people *need* to buy from a 'local expert' and don't mind paying a few hundred dollars more for the services they provide. Other people would much rather shop for the best price, especially if it also saves them many miles of driving to and from their 'local' store . . . . and that's fine too. Forums such as this one should be here to support all types of buyers, regardless of where they made their purchase. Maybe EBR is actually here support the mail order buyers just as much as everyone else? They're test riding the ones we don't have access to for all of us, aren't they? Why pick on those who can't find what they want 'locally?'

Don
 

Casual Rider

Member
Region
Canada
And of course it is just common sense that for a newbie in any sport, you should start with an entry level piece of equipment to learn the sport, learn what features are most important for you before you spend big bucks on something that may not be well suited to you personally. Did you buy a $2,500 set of Callaways when you first took up golf?? Enough said

You do read here and other places too about people who jump into eBiking with both feet, buy something for 3 or 4 grand and then end up selling it at a considerable loss to move on to something better suited to them. Not all of us have that sort of cash to waste

In a year or two, if you decide to trade up, likely you won't lose much selling your Rad, and since you got such a great deal on it, maybe nothing at all. So at the very least, you're going to get a good education into what makes the perfect ride for you and IMO you should be breaking your arm patting yourself on the back for NOT spending big bucks right out of the gate on something that might not turn out to be 'right'. Few people are lucky enough to find the best fit on the first try without starting with something to learn the ropes on . . . . and I think that's what you bought, isn't it?

Don.

My sentiments exactly. And actually I still play golf with a set of clubs I got a few years ago at a garage sale for 50 bucks :)
 

Alaskan

Well-Known Member
I'm sure there *are* some absolutely fabulous Local Bike Stores where the owner and all his employees are 100% honest and would NEVER take advantage of a single customer . . . . and then, there are the others. . . . . and then, there are those of us who don't live within 100 miles of any LBS, let alone a perfect one - So we mail order something, come here to learn about it . . . . and get trashed because we're not 'supporting' some LBS somewhere. There are probably several hundred different makes and models of eBikes, and your LBS stocks how many of them? Can you test ride the ones you want?

Some people *need* to buy from a 'local expert' and don't mind paying a few hundred dollars more for the services they provide. Other people would much rather shop for the best price, especially if it also saves them many miles of driving to and from their 'local' store . . . . and that's fine too. Forums such as this one should be here to support all types of buyers, regardless of where they made their purchase. Maybe EBR is actually here support the mail order buyers just as much as everyone else? They're test riding the ones we don't have access to for all of us, aren't they? Why pick on those who can't find what they want 'locally?'

Don
Don - People are free to buy from whatever source they want and to prioritize price over service as their needs dictate.

If you live far from any reputable LBS, your choices are limited and price can become a principal driver, but even within that sector there are outfits with reputable service and others not so much. When that is the case one must be prepared to buy the needed tools, climb the learning curve for bicycle maintenance and repair, allocate the time needed to keep ones bike running smooth and reliable, as well as invest in your own inventory of spare and replacement wear parts...and yes ask for help on a forum like this one from knowledgeable members.

However, those living near major towns and cities, with an abundance of LBSs to develop relationships with and chose from, who opt for internet or mail order bikes in order to buy what might appear to be more bike than their budget would allow, really do not have much of a leg to stand on if they don't get great service and support.

It is just being a realistic and smart consumer to go in eyes wide open and be aware of the trade offs, when you make a decision. A forum like this can be a useful source of research to learn about just who stands behind their products and transactions and who fails to deliver as promised. Clearly there are both to be found in the LBS world as well as the mail order/internet world. Good use of the search function on this site can be very helpful is determining which is which.

To quote a wise man from almost two centuries ago, John Ruskin

"There is hardly anything in the world that someone cannot make a little worse and sell a little cheaper, and the people who consider price alone are that person's lawful prey. It's unwise to pay too much, but it's worse to pay too little. When you pay too much, you lose a little money – that is all. When you pay too little, you sometimes lose everything, because the thing you bought was incapable of doing the thing it was bought to do. The common law of business balance prohibits paying a little and getting a lot – it can't be done. If you deal with the lowest bidder, it is well to add something for the risk you run, and if you do that you will have enough to pay for something better."
 

alphacarina

Active Member
Region
USA
The common law of business balance prohibits paying a little and getting a lot – it can't be done. If you deal with the lowest bidder, it is well to add something for the risk you run, and if you do that you will have enough to pay for something better."
I suppose by and large, that's true but there are a few exceptions - If you're not making a cheaper product, but you eliminate the middlemen, drastically cut back your advertising and marketing costs, you can bring out a decent product at an amazingly low price

The guys who came up with the Lectric XP series were aiming at cutting the cost of getting into eBiking to as low as possible, so as to grow the sport and when you buy one of their bikes, you're left wondering . . . . how the heck did they do all this for only $899?? They gave me a military discount off that $899 too and a free set of $50 Panniers to boot. A 500 watt motor, 48 volt, 10.4 AH battery (which is encased in the frame) folding T6061 alloy frame, Shimano 7 speed, disc brakes front and rear, fenders & luggage rack, 4 inch fat tires, stainless spokes, headlight and tail light, a better than average seat and a much better than average display . . . . and free truck shipping to your door. If sold at bike stores, it would easily be $1,500 and that price would eliminate a large chunk of the buyers. Objective reviews seem as amazed by what you get for what you pay as I am. True, it's not 'the bike' for many people, but it is 'the bike' for tens of thousands who thought they could never afford a decent eBike. To top it all off, they stand behind their product very well too from what I can see. I have read several stories where the buyer had a problem in the first year and they shipped out whatever parts were needed, quickly and free of charge. One guy on YouTube got an entire new rear wheel ready to pop in the frame. Not all LBS's will take that sort of care of you. True, you have to install the parts yourself, but when you buy online, that's a given from the start

It still amazes me what I got for what I paid every time I ride it, so I guess it can be done . . . . if you eliminate 50, 75 and 100% mark-ups and just try to make a little bit on each one by selling a whole bunch of them

Don
 
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Alaskan

Well-Known Member
I suppose by and large, that's true but there are a few exceptions - If you're not making a cheaper product, but you eliminate the middlemen, drastically cut back your advertising and marketing costs, you can bring out a decent product at an amazingly low price

The guys who came up with the Lectric XP series were aiming at cutting the cost of getting into eBiking to as low as possible, so as to grow the sport and when you buy one of their bikes, you're left wondering . . . . how the heck did they do all this for only $899?? They gave me a military discount off that $899 too and a free set of $50 Panniers to boot. A 500 watt motor, 48 volt, 10.4 AH battery (which is encased in the frame) folding T6061 alloy frame, Shimano 7 speed, disc brakes front and rear, fenders & luggage rack, 4 inch fat tires, stainless spokes, headlight and tail light, a better than average seat and a much better than average display . . . . and free truck shipping to your door. If sold at bike stores, it would easily be $1,500 and that price would eliminate a large chunk of the buyers. Objective reviews seem as amazed by what you get for what you pay as I am. True, it's not 'the bike' for many people, but it is 'the bike' for tens of thousands who thought they could never afford a decent eBike. To top it all off, they stand behind their product very well too from what I can see. I have read several stories where the buyer had a problem in the first year and they shipped out whatever parts were needed, quickly and free of charge. One guy on YouTube got an entire new rear wheel ready to pop in the frame. Not all LBS's will take that sort of care of you. True, you have to install the parts yourself, but when you buy online, that's a given from the start

It still amazes me what I got for what I paid every time I ride it

Don
Happy for you Don. It is always good to hear about people getting a square deal and being treated right.
 

Casual Rider

Member
Region
Canada
I'm pretty sure I made the right choice. Have ridden more so far this summer on the Rad Mini than I have on a bicycle in decades. I've discovered back roads I never even knew existed.
No issues so far as I approach 1000 km on the odometer. I've had to tighten the spokes once and retorque some of the bolts, but otherwise I just ride.
 

AHicks

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Snow Bird - Summer S.E. Michigan, Winter Gulf Coast North Central Fl.
LOVE exploring back roads and even better, little used paths through the woods....

E-bike parked in the garage allows (encourages even) me to ride more than I ever have, dating back to when I was just a kid....
 

soyabean

Active Member
Region
Canada
So an opposing view might look like this:
I have zero sympathy for folks left helpless on the side of a path/trail because they depend solely on their LBS to keep their bike running..... and are clueless when it comes to the basic functionality of their bike.

Who is "right"? Or should we just make room for each other and not worry about it?
yeah awesome,they didnt buy their bike where you buy yours so they deserve misfortune? There are plenty of folks here with LBS horror stories and imo it sucks and i feel awful for them just like people with online purchase horror stories.
https://electricbikereview.com/foru...work-on-e-bikes-lectric-xp-not-my-post.43731/
 

AHicks

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Snow Bird - Summer S.E. Michigan, Winter Gulf Coast North Central Fl.
Soyabean-
I'm assuming (based on that link) that you believe repairs will go lacking on my bike(s) because the local shops won't work on them? If so, you need to know I never bothered asking/finding out. I do ALL of my own repair. Picky old man doesn't trust anyone working on his "stuff". I prefer to do it myself, so I know it's done right. Further, I consider that part of the hobby. I ENJOY doing my own work!

And further yet, many buying "mail order" buy them that way so they can learn to do their own repairs, so they don't need to be LBS dependent. No, not everyone has all the answers right away. Hell, I don't have all the answers! That's what makes places like this such a valuable resource. -Al
 

soyabean

Active Member
Region
Canada
That's very nice.

And 99% of folks that "mail order" their ebike aren't bike wrenches. They don't even know how to swap inner tubes.

I obtain that fact from the repairs I do on "mail order" ebikes for "mail order" folks. Oh, and I love gouging the money they give me.
 

AHicks

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Snow Bird - Summer S.E. Michigan, Winter Gulf Coast North Central Fl.
That's very nice.

And 99% of folks that "mail order" their ebike aren't bike wrenches. They don't even know how to swap inner tubes.

I obtain that fact from the repairs I do on "mail order" ebikes for "mail order" folks. Oh, and I love gouging the money they give me.
On the bold, I believe you are (badly) misinformed. Not trying to say some aren't helpless. I'm saying there are MANY (90%?) that have no difficulty doing their own repairs, even if they have to ask a question or 2. A few repairs down the road, or even after a successful "mail order" bike assembly, their confidence takes a big jump, allowing them the patience to ask questions and dive in to ever bigger/more serious repairs. -Al
 

Gordon71

Well-Known Member
On the bold, I believe you are (badly) misinformed. Not trying to say some aren't helpless. I'm saying there are MANY (90%?) that have no difficulty doing their own repairs, even if they have to ask a question or 2. A few repairs down the road, or even after a successful "mail order" bike assembly, their confidence takes a big jump, allowing them the patience to ask questions and dive in to ever bigger/more serious repairs. -Al
Not to mention all the how to repair and service videos out there both at the websites of the online sellers (at least Rad has a bunch) as well as other independent repair videos. I'm no mechanic but I can watch a step by step video and get the job done and can also ask questions here when I get stuck.
 

soyabean

Active Member
Region
Canada
I'm no mechanic but I can watch a step by step video and get the job done and can also ask questions here when I get stuck.
You are 100% right, but most folks simply don't dare to start. That includes DIY videos on plumbing, how to install patio doors, maintenance on wankel engines, etc.

To assume that ANYONE can "mail order" their first ebike and assume rainbows and unicorns forever is just wrong.

The point I was trying to make is that there is more downfall for a newbie to DIY on their first ebike (which may also be their first bike). They are often left in the dust, alienated by their LBS, and then sell their ebike to me for scrap (that I repair and generously re-flip).