I need e-bike suggestions

Korvus

New Member
To start with, I have a car that is in really poor shape (and it died), I think its wasteful to even consider driving anymore since I only have a 5 mile commute to work. I actually tried to ditch the car once before, and that’s where my Dr. Dew came from. I love the bike, I just hate going up a steep hill when I’ve had a long day at work. The hill I’m speaking of is a 200 foot climb on the way home from work. I can do it, and have done it many times, but after a 10+ hour day at work it becomes a hassle and often I’m too tired to want to bother. For bike sizing and limitation purposes, I’m 5’11” and weigh 225 lbs.


To get me away from pouring more money in a car that I don’t need, I want to either convert my current ride to an e-bike, or buy an e-bike.


Currently I have a 2013 Kona Dr. Dew. I haven’t changed any of the major components on my bike and added the following items. I added a rack and all the bags/panniers to go along with it, fenders, new platform pedals for better grip, new saddle and my tires are now 700x28c. Here is a link with all of the details of my bike:


(Link Removed - No Longer Exists)


A few weeks ago I ordered a Ridekick. I honestly think this would be the perfect solution for me, along with being the most cost effective. However, after a reading a few posts on this forum regarding the continual delays with Ridekick shipping their product out last year. I have come to the conclusion that if Ridekick doesn’t ship my trailer out on time (next week), I’ll probably get cold feet and request a refund.


With that in mind, I’ve thought about tossing an E-Rad 350 watt motor on my Dr. Dew. The review Court posted was with the 500 watt motor, but I thought I’d probably be able to save a bit and just get the 350 watt version. But would this motor be enough for getting me up that hill with some assistance?

The motor along with a “48v 9Ah (432 watt-hours)” battery puts me over 1500 with shipping. I have no idea how much distance I could expect from this with the chosen battery. It also isn’t that much cheaper than just biting the bullet and ponying up for a readymade e-bike. Has anyone had a good/bad experience with these kits and the motor size I was looking at?


Also, how do these particular motors fair in the rain? I happen to live in Washington State, and this bike will be ridden in heavy rain, since this is replacing my car for my daily commute.


https://electricbikereview.com/e-rad/500-watt-mid-drive-conversion-kit/


If I look for readymade e-bikes, my LBS has both the 2015 iZip E3 Peak and E3 Dash, also they’re an authorized iZip dealer. The LBS is currently selling each of these bikes for $2200, which I thought was steep. Especially considering the 2016 E3 Dash has a mid-drive motor, rack (I hope I can swap it out), fenders, hydraulic disc brakes, along with front and rear lights for only 300 more (based on retail). They do not have any of the 2016 models, but I can’t imagine they would be unable to order the new model should I wish to swing with this.


https://electricbikereview.com/izip/2015-e3-peak/


https://electricbikereview.com/izip/2015-e3-dash/


The other e-bikes they have are Raleigh. The only Raleigh bike the LBS currently has that I’d even consider is their 2015 Detour IE. This bike they’re selling for $1750, which seems to be a better deal if I were to compare this against the 2016 model instead. My only problem is that I would be unable to fit my current rack on the bike. The first time I tried to ditch my car and commute via bicycle, I specifically bought a Topeak MTX bike rack, along with a trunk bag that holds my work laptop. I bought it because it holds up against the rain and keeps my heavy laptop properly secured. I guess I could find another solution, but I have hopes set on finding a way to use my current rack setup since it has served me well thus far.


https://electricbikereview.com/raleigh/2015-detour-ie/


As far as a readymade e-bike goes, I really would prefer to shop local, and I only have one LBS within a “local” driving distance. If anyone is familiar with the area, I could go as far up north as Bellingham WA, but I’d prefer to stay away from the Seattle area. Seattle is a bit far south, and the commute can become a hassle if I need anything fixed/covered under warranty.

Thanks all!
 

JoePah

Well-Known Member
You seem like one organized dude! That Kona of yours is a perfect bike for an eBike kit.. And crowdfunding eBikes are usually hit and miss.. usually miss.. And the quality will be well below your Kona.
A couple of options:

If you buy a ready to go ebike, start with a demo or leftover model.. In a year you will completely change your mind about what you want.....

If you want an ebike kit, those eRads are on the high side.

Suggest you surf LunaCycle and Golden Motors Canada.. Call them and ask for advice... A short ride like yours with a hill that isn't too bad can probably run fine with a hub motor.. geared or direct drive. The nice thing about a geared motor is that they freewheel, meaning you can pedal it fairly easily.

Personally would buy a 48v system at this point. .A lot more responsive and fun!
 
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Korvus

New Member
Thanks for the tip.

Any hub motors you would specifically suggest?

One of my main concerns with a rear hub motor is due to the added weight on the rear of my bike. I often ride with my work laptop which already adds a lot of weight there. Since my bike frame is aluminum, I'd rather be cautious of not overloading the back end and causing issues.

Also, I've looked at Luna Cycle before, but the mid drive kit I saw didn't seem to have motor cut off when I switched gears or break. I'd rather pay more for my own safety. However, I'll give them another look.
 

pocomo

Active Member
I have an E-Rad kit and it's been great. However, one of the drawbacks of a kit being installed on a nice bicycle like your Kona is that you lose your brake levers (replaced with cutoff-compatible ones) and your crankset. The replacements are serviceable but definitely a couple notches below the quality of what you already own, which reduces some of the tactile enjoyment of the ride (for me anyway).

Have you looked at ShareRoller? Front wheel friction drive addon, looks very interesting. Your bicycle stays 100% intact, no parts swaps. No direct experience here but I am definitely intrigued.
 

Korvus

New Member
I like the idea of that ShareRoller, unfortunately the pre-order was on a crowd funding site that ended in February. I will have to keep an eye out to see if those hit the open market anytime soon, because I also like the basic idea.

Regarding the E-Rad kit, I've had that same worry about the breaks as well. The more I think about making changes to my Kona, the more I'm leaning towards buying a pre-built e-bike. I don't think I'm ready to "upgrade" my Kona (not yet anyway).

If the Ridekick falls through, which I honestly hope it doesn't; I think I'll try talking the LBS down a bit on either of the iZip bikes, or maybe I can get them to give me a big discount on a few accessories I'd end up buying anyway (rack, fenders, lights, etc...).
 

George S.

Well-Known Member
With a GPS ride tracker (like Ride with GPS) you could give the slope as a %. That is more helpful. Honestly, a 5 mile ride is pretty short, and the ride is OK except for the hill?

I'd start at the least expensive end. A front Smart Pie is around $325. It does OK with 8% grades if you just pedal moderately. Couple that with a basic battery like the Mini for $250. These are Luna prices.

If I had one hill killing me on a 5 mile ride, $600 is what I would want to spend. If it's over 10% grade, that's tougher.
 

Korvus

New Member
I really appreciate everyone's help.

Right now, I'm not sure what the grade% the hill is, but I can try to see if there is some app I can use on my smart phone on my way home tonight. It's not marked, so I'd assume its far less than 10%. The hill is really the only thing giving me a hard time, and most of my ride is reasonably flat until my last stretch home. My biggest concern with a front hub motor is that everything I've read (including warnings on websites that sell front hub motors) say to avoid using a front hub if you have a aluminum fork, or a fork with front shocks. My bike happens to have an aluminum frame and fork, so I'd really prefer to adhere to the warnings I've read.

I'd rather keep this entire endeavor as cost effective as possible, but if that means buying a new bike to keep me away from driving to/from work, so be it.
 

George S.

Well-Known Member
If you map a route with Google Maps and click the bicycle at the top, you get a rough elevation profile.

You can replace a fork but it will cost a little money. Ask a shop. They may only have fairly premium forks. I did this with my first front hub. I had a cheap aluminum suspension fork. I now have a steel Surly fork. Use torque arms.

You can do a rear hub. I mention the Smart Pie because you can get it in the US along with a battery. You don't need much of a battery, like the Luna Mini. You may not need much of a motor.

If you have a good bike and just need a motor to get up one hill, I would do serious research on some kind of hub, if the hill is under 10% or so.

If you like the bike, think it is in good shape, etc...
 

Korvus

New Member
Well you hit the nail on the head with the fact that I really like my current ride. It fits well and I've already put money into it on little upgrades here and there. I'll investigate hub motors a little more. Would I have as much as a need for a motor cutoff, like you would run into with mid-drive motors? Or do they avert that for the most part since they're not directly pulling on the chain and cassette?
 

pxpaulx

Well-Known Member
I have a haibike with the Yamaha sduro motor, which doesn't have a cut off. I have zero issues with it. As long as you ease off the pedals for a split second and have basic knowledge of using a geared bike you'll be just fine.

A cheap hub setup would be easier to take off the bike if you want to ride without power too, something to consider.
 

George S.

Well-Known Member
Many hubs have a speed or cruise control, like a car. Then you want a brake/motor cutoff. I've used one of these.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/24-36-48V-E...Universal-fits-ALL-easy-install-/281294629865

Thread the brake cable through it, tie it to the frame, plug in the sensor. They work, no change in your brake levers. Ask the motor vendor what he stocks for his motors. Plugs can vary.

There aren't that many hubs floating around. Consider Grin Tech and Golden Motor Canada, Luna Cycle, EM3ev. Google stuff. A half day of research goes a long way. Lots of how to stuff on YouTube. Endless Sphere is a deep resource.

If you know about aluminum forks you are way ahead of most people.
 

Ann M.

Well-Known Member
@Korvus, with the Golden Motor kits, you have the option to get brake levers with the motor interrupt built in and buy 1 or 2 really good quality torque arms. Highly suggest at least 1 torque arm for a front wheel kit, the GM systems crank out a lot of torque especially when you first throttle the motor from a stop. That's a lot of flex stress on any fork, even a rigid one. Make sure the drop outs on the fork or rear stays are thick and solid, not thin stamped stuff. Don't want those motor wires to have a chance to spin and rip!
 

Korvus

New Member
So, yesterday I went over to my LBS to test drive the two iZip bikes they had on sale, and to pick their brain on converting my current bike. I also wanted to get a general feel regarding how the mid drive handled vs. a rear hub. I completely understand this can drastically change from bike to bike, but I still feel that I could walk away with a general overview of what to expect with handling. From the start, I couldn't tell too much of a difference between the two bikes in the conditions I tested them under. The only issue I had between the Dash and the Peak when when I tried lifting the bikes, I really didn't like the feel of the added weight in the rear of the bike with a geared hub (2015 Dash).

My largest worry with the rear hub is how it will handle in wet, or slippery conditions when I will also have a heavy laptop on my bike rack. In the winter, I do ride with studded tires, but there is only so much help studded tires can assist with when the roads are iced over. I simply do not think its a good idea to add more weight to the rear of the bike and change how the rear of my bike would handle. Also, if I were to buy a new ebike today, I would shoot for a mid drive system for this same reason.

I'm hopeful that the Ridekick is delivered on time, and that I am pleased with my expectations. If not I will at least have a good idea of what I need to research further when considering converting my current Kona into an ebike.

Again, I really appreciate everyone's advice and assistance.
 

TrevorB

Active Member
One thing to consider is power delivery, there are torque sensing and cadence sensing systems and they do feel different. The factory midwives (eg Bosch, Yamaha, shimano ) are torque sensing along with a lot of factory hub drive bikes. There are also lot of cadence sensing only factory hub drive bikes, tend to be cheaper ones, most kits are cadence sensing with option of throttle.

I suggest renting a bike for half a day, ideally try both systems during that period, the hirer may let you swap bikes half way though. Alternatively take friend and swap bikes.

Ebikes open up a whole new world of cycling experience. With right kit or factory bike you may find your self riding for fun over extended distances, even seeking out hills to climb/flatten.
 

Korvus

New Member
Just for the record, I actually do ride for fun. A 20+ mile bike ride is not uncommon for me when I'm able to afford the free time, and 30+ miles if its mostly flat. I've had an interest in ebikes for a while now, but its easier to explain the expense to the wife when I'm using it as a source of transportation and not just for fun.
 

J.R.

Well-Known Member
The only issue I had between the Dash and the Peak when when I tried lifting the bikes, I really didn't like the feel of the added weight in the rear of the bike with a geared hub (2015 Dash).
The 2015 Dash is powered by a direct drive gearless hub, by far the heaviest of all the drive systems, but as close to bulletproof as you can get. Watt for watt, a geared hub is the lightest of all drive systems.
 

TrevorB

Active Member
I didn't know how fit a rider you were. Given your fitness and enjoyment of long rides, I highly recommend a long (>2hrs) test ride of a torque sensing system. If you do a test ride, besides mandatory hill climb on max assist, try long flat ride on lower settings as maybe bulk of your riding.

Renting an ebike for wife should help convince her you need an ebike. Downside is you may end up owning two ebikes.
 

Korvus

New Member
The 2015 Dash is powered by a direct drive gearless hub, by far the heaviest of all the drive systems, but as close to bulletproof as you can get. Watt for watt, a geared hub is the lightest of all drive systems.
Thanks for the correction. ;)
 

Korvus

New Member
I didn't know how fit a rider you were. Given your fitness and enjoyment of long rides, I highly recommend a long (>2hrs) test ride of a torque sensing system. If you do a test ride, besides mandatory hill climb on max assist, try long flat ride on lower settings as maybe bulk of your riding.

Renting an ebike for wife should help convince her you need an ebike. Downside is you may end up owning two ebikes.
I'd love to take a few ebikes with different setups out for a test spin, but where I live that's quite difficult.

The LBS in my area only sells iZip and Raleigh as far as ebikes go, and they only had a few 2015 models in stock.

If the Ridekick doesn't work out it will come down to a kit or a new bike. I'm still undecided on which direction I'll go if that's the case. The only thing I'm pretty settled on is a mid drive system.
 
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J.R.

Well-Known Member
Thanks for the correction. ;)
Not at all, so many bikes and different drives available, it's hard to keep them all straight. I wondered if the shop got it wrong. I have a DD hub bike and a geared hub bike, the geared is so much lighter. I also prefer torque sensed PAS, but ride as many systems/bikes as you can. Good luck!