I Messed Up... and Now I Own an eBike

Gufazi

New Member
Hello everyone. Here is my eBike story.

It was late May 2020 in the USA, and the country was opening up a bit. So I plan a road trip. Normally, my road trips are on a a motorcycle - a Triumph Explorer 1200. I love being on two wheels, but this time I had a partner who wanted to come along. I rented a Jeep instead.

We planned to hit the west coast and the desert southwest, a mix on national parks and cities. Some camping, hiking and light off-roading, but also some city bars and sightseeing. Our itinerary in no particular order: Grand Canyon, Sedona, Death Valley, Lassen Volcanic, Lake Tahoe, Channel Islands, Redwoods, San Francisco.

All in all, it went well. We were physical distancing and wearing masks in public, but our first weeks or so were spent in the forest and in the desert. We were pretty much disconnected from the world. It was great. Off-roading in the sand was amazing, the camping weather as perfect and the hikes were spectacular.

By the time we reconnected to family, friends and the interwebs toward the end of June, COVID was surging again. We were San Francisco for a few days and everything was closed, including the bars, restaurants and our Alcatraz tour. I was already missing my Triumph after carving the curves Pacific Coast Highway and the hills of SF in the cagey Jeep. To satiate my desire of centrifugal force, I decided to rent a bicycle to explore the city - an eBike.

Pedal-assisted biking in SF was an eye opener. I haven't felt that way about two wheels since I first jumped on a motorcycle 20 years ago and had abandoned self-propelled two-wheeling. It was liberating. I was working out, but not so hard that it took away from enjoying the moment or scenery. Feeling the battery/motor kick in as I pedaled was exhilarating at first, but then it just became natural - until the battery ran out.

As one would suspect, the eBike I rented kinda sucked. I don't remember the brand or model or anything, but I instinctually knew the eBike concept was sound and that I would eventually get one. For the rest of my road trip, I spent any connected time researching eBike technology, brands and reviews (thank you, EBR). Before I got home, I had already arranged to buy a hitch for my car and a bike rack to attach to it.

I'm very fortunate back home in the Washington, D.C. area to have a supportive biking culture. There are plenty of LBS to try out bikes and I took full advantage of them. Eventually, I settled on a Specialized Vado 4.0, bought one in silver / black and put 50 miles on it in two days!

Now, I'm already thinking about upgrades and personalization, but mostly I'm just enjoying this new hobby and the world it has opened up to me. I'm looking forward to learning from this forum it's members!

TLDR: I messed up and took a road trip during a pandemic. I rented an eBike in San Francisco because everything was closed and ended up buying a Specialized Vado 4.0 when I got back home in the Washington D.C. area.
 

Copyrider

Active Member
Big fan of the Vado 4.0 here...and SF riding. I'm a previous owner of a Vado 4.0 and current owner of a Vado 4.0 SL EQ.

Nicely written. Enjoy!
 

Geno929

Member
Hello everyone. Here is my eBike story.

It was late May 2020 in the USA, and the country was opening up a bit. So I plan a road trip. Normally, my road trips are on a a motorcycle - a Triumph Explorer 1200. I love being on two wheels, but this time I had a partner who wanted to come along. I rented a Jeep instead.

We planned to hit the west coast and the desert southwest, a mix on national parks and cities. Some camping, hiking and light off-roading, but also some city bars and sightseeing. Our itinerary in no particular order: Grand Canyon, Sedona, Death Valley, Lassen Volcanic, Lake Tahoe, Channel Islands, Redwoods, San Francisco.

All in all, it went well. We were physical distancing and wearing masks in public, but our first weeks or so were spent in the forest and in the desert. We were pretty much disconnected from the world. It was great. Off-roading in the sand was amazing, the camping weather as perfect and the hikes were spectacular.

By the time we reconnected to family, friends and the interwebs toward the end of June, COVID was surging again. We were San Francisco for a few days and everything was closed, including the bars, restaurants and our Alcatraz tour. I was already missing my Triumph after carving the curves Pacific Coast Highway and the hills of SF in the cagey Jeep. To satiate my desire of centrifugal force, I decided to rent a bicycle to explore the city - an eBike.

Pedal-assisted biking in SF was an eye opener. I haven't felt that way about two wheels since I first jumped on a motorcycle 20 years ago and had abandoned self-propelled two-wheeling. It was liberating. I was working out, but not so hard that it took away from enjoying the moment or scenery. Feeling the battery/motor kick in as I pedaled was exhilarating at first, but then it just became natural - until the battery ran out.

As one would suspect, the eBike I rented kinda sucked. I don't remember the brand or model or anything, but I instinctually knew the eBike concept was sound and that I would eventually get one. For the rest of my road trip, I spent any connected time researching eBike technology, brands and reviews (thank you, EBR). Before I got home, I had already arranged to buy a hitch for my car and a bike rack to attach to it.

I'm very fortunate back home in the Washington, D.C. area to have a supportive biking culture. There are plenty of LBS to try out bikes and I took full advantage of them. Eventually, I settled on a Specialized Vado 4.0, bought one in silver / black and put 50 miles on it in two days!

Now, I'm already thinking about upgrades and personalization, but mostly I'm just enjoying this new hobby and the world it has opened up to me. I'm looking forward to learning from this forum it's members!

TLDR: I messed up and took a road trip during a pandemic. I rented an eBike in San Francisco because everything was closed and ended up buying a Specialized Vado 4.0 when I got back home in the Washington D.C. area.
I tested a Specialized Vado prior to buying my two Rad City E-bikes. What a great bike. smooth and fast. Very intuitive in operation. But, I did get two Rad Power Bikes for the price of one Vado. A really, nice bike! congratulations.
 

Browneye

Well-Known Member
Ebikes are the shiznit. I had a Triumph Tiger 800XC, a Husqvarna TE630, and then traded the Tiger for a BMW R1200GS - put about 50K miles on them over the past decade. Alas, I'm just getting too old and fragile to ride. It was SO depressing to sell them all, I was heartbroken.

Then an old riding buddy popped in with his wife last year and said they had rented a couple of RadPower ebikes. Wha you say??? That was the beginning of the end for me - ten grand later and a slew of bikes, including a e-mountain bike, and I'm back on two wheels having a BLAST!

Velkommen to the asylum. 🤪
 

Geno929

Member
Ebikes are the shiznit. I had a Triumph Tiger 800XC, a Husqvarna TE630, and then traded the Tiger for a BMW R1200GS - put about 50K miles on them over the past decade. Alas, I'm just getting too old and fragile to ride. It was SO depressing to sell them all, I was heartbroken.

Then an old riding buddy popped in with his wife last year and said they had rented a couple of RadPower ebikes. Wha you say??? That was the beginning of the end for me - ten grand later and a slew of bikes, including a e-mountain bike, and I'm back on two wheels having a BLAST!

Velkommen to the asylum. 🤪
"I'm your Huckleberry!" 20200627_100438.jpg
 

Lightning 123

New Member
That was a good story. I am so fascinated with the idea that an e mountain bike with a big enough battery can offer endless opportunities to ride and explore areas around where I currently live with a possible range of 50 to 75 miles which is yet to be determined.
 

Browneye

Well-Known Member
You'll be hard pressed to go forty miles offroad. It's best to try out the best the industry has to offer and see if it will work for you.
My avereage ride is about 15 to 20 miles. You get a good work out, and that's the longest the average regular mtb'r ever makes, it's a lot of ground and a few hours out on the trail. Check it out. I have yet to run out any of our ebikes.
 

Lightning 123

New Member
I would agree with that. I was mostly thinking about about just cruising around my neighborhood, going down to where the bike trails are which seems like they could be endless, and riding a few local trails eventually working my way up to some longer rides.
 

Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
@Lightning 123,
Yes you can do some 40 miles off-road on a 500 Wh battery on a mid-drive motor e-MTB but only provided you're riding on the flat. Any hills make the range far far shorter just as @Browneye said. The range of 50-75 miles could be made for mountains only in the case you used two larger batteries (600 Wh minimum for each of them, one of them carried as a spare) and rode sealed roads only. That is my experience.
 

Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
There are two things I'd like to make you aware of:
  1. E-bikes are far more complex than motorcycles; while motorcycles are the established thing, e-bikes are still a novelty
  2. Actual experience of riding an e-bike off-road might be badly surprising for you if you took a wrong purchase decision.
The best would be if you could take a demo ride; can you do it with an e-bike that is sold online? And, buying from LBS that will support, service and handle warranties would be smart.
 

Lightning 123

New Member
There are alot different kinds of trails that I wouldn't be able to take an ebike on and still have a battery left. I was just saying that I am familiar with trail riding. There were some times when I would shut the motor off and went downhill for an extended period of time and I thought wow, this thing weighs 250lbs, if I had a bike I could go down twice as fast and the suspension wouldn't be beating the crap out of me and I did really enjoy the silence. I am going to ride to what my capabilities are and that has yet to be determined.
 

Browneye

Well-Known Member
Sondors doesn't really offer a real mountain bike - seems they have a frame set with a fork, a big battery, and knobby tires.
I would encourage you to test one offroad, then try a state of the art one from the big-3, Trek, Specialized, or Giant. There are some botique brands out there too, but these cover the basics and the best of what the industry offers.