Looking for a solid bike for a long commute

e_adventure

New Member
Hello, I am in the market for a new ebike that can handle a long and hilly daily commute to work. I've tested out a few bikes at my LBS, and was enjoying the mid-drive Bosch performance CX system and its climbing ability ((Link Removed - No Longer Exists)- a MTB setup, but I would convert it to more of a commuter); I was also interested in the Haibikes with the Yamaha motor but they may not be at the LBS for some time yet.

I've recently been turned on to another bike that I was wasn't originally considering, mostly because it was more than I was planning to spend: the OHM XU700 16. I've seen lots of positive reviews on this site for this bike, and it seems to be spec'd out for the long-haul. I may also have the opportunity to run the same Bionx 500W D-series system on a more retro-fit setup on a new crossover type bike like the Norco XFR3, for more than 1k less than the OHM (on a much lower spec'd bike to be sure... and as far as I'm aware, the retro-fit bionx motor can't be run as a 45km/hr speed pedelec, but I'm not totally certain this can't be changed/unlocked??). Any thoughts on these bikes? I should mention what my needs are...

I'm 36 and in relatively good shape, 5'7 and 150lbs. I've been riding bikes my whole life (MTB, road), and have been commuting to work on my bicycle for the past several years. I moved a while back- increasing my commuting distance, resulting in a much more difficult ride that I can only manage once or twice a week now (I also have a physical job so my energy is at a premium!). I would like to get back into the bicycle commute as much as possible (at least 4 times/week), as the car commute is wearing me down in other ways. Currently I ride an old bombproof steel triathlon frame in a commuter setup (riser bars, thumb shifters, wider 700c tires and a rear rack), about a total of 10km (plus a section on transit in the middle of the trip to cut it down from twice that distance), with long big hills on both ends.

My ideal situation would be able to ride all the way to work without the transit section, which means about 20km of riding each way. I wasn't originally thinking that I would eliminate the transit piece, though a powerful ebike makes the idea seem more reasonable (and fun!). While the Bosch CX setup climbed like a moutain goat, I found the bike geometry didn't feel totally right for a long daily commute. My budget was originally up to about $4k CAD (~$3k USD) for a commuter set up, so that led me to my initial choices. Given the possibility that I could avoid the transit piece (and save about $100-120/month) with a more powerful (and fast!) bike, I'm considering on upping my budget to make the OHM bike work.

Any thoughts/opinions on the OHM setup? Is it worth the $1k+ upgrade vs. the retrofit Norco with the same Bionx system? Any other suggestions on options or other bikes I should consider?

Thanks :)
 

pxpaulx

Well-Known Member
Well, you're small and in shape, so 14 miles one way is going to be nothing on these bikes.

I'm going to start doing a partial commute/transit myself, but am a big guy at over 300#. I have an easy motion evo snow and a haibike sduro hard seven. I'll likely be using the hard seven for commuting. It is more efficient, and the evo hub motor wants to push you to to speed asap, which is about 22 to 24mph in to top gear (and it is much less efficient at that speed).

I'm waiting to get a locker at work before I ride (wait list, not going to lock it all day in downtown Minneapolis). In the meantime I have run a couple of test rides the last 2 weekends, both about 18 miles (2/3 off my total commute, which is my plan). 2nd ride was with my wife alittle more leisurely, but still averaged 13mph moving speed, the ride by myself was 14.5mph.

It was windy on my lone ride and I used alot of battery as a result, ended up with only 40 percent left. The second ride, no wind and only slightly slower, used only 40 percent, quite a difference. Either way, at half my weight you aren't goon to run into battery drain issues.

The sduro I really enjoy, most like riding a bike of any electric bike I've tried. The Bosch is smooth, but still feels like an assist. If I'd skip the bionx. I have found hub motors want to go within a limited speed band where they are most efficient. If you push harder you'll get minimal help, and under their efficient speed they bog down and eventually aren't contributing much help.

The only negative to the sduro, which court (site owner) had pointed out, is that the motor cuts out at about 90rpm. If your cadence is that high, I would probably say skip it. I ride at about 70rpm so for me it is a non issue. If that works for you, the sduro is definitely worth a ride.

If you'll be riding primarily on trails, I wouldn't worry about reaching spedelec speeds (i found on my 2 weekend rides anything more than 17mph or so seems unnecessary), but if you want to ride that fast on the street, an easy motion hub bike might also be a good choice - their bikes say 20mph limit but if you read and watch some of court's reviews they actually go to about 24mph.
 

e_adventure

New Member
Well, you're small and in shape, so 14 miles one way is going to be nothing on these bikes.

I'm going to start doing a partial commute/transit myself, but am a big guy at over 300#. I have an easy motion evo snow and a haibike sduro hard seven. I'll likely be using the hard seven for commuting. It is more efficient, and the evo hub motor wants to push you to to speed asap, which is about 22 to 24mph in to top gear (and it is much less efficient at that speed).

I'm waiting to get a locker at work before I ride (wait list, not going to lock it all day in downtown Minneapolis). In the meantime I have run a couple of test rides the last 2 weekends, both about 18 miles (2/3 off my total commute, which is my plan). 2nd ride was with my wife alittle more leisurely, but still averaged 13mph moving speed, the ride by myself was 14.5mph.

It was windy on my lone ride and I used alot of battery as a result, ended up with only 40 percent left. The second ride, no wind and only slightly slower, used only 40 percent, quite a difference. Either way, at half my weight you aren't goon to run into battery drain issues.

The sduro I really enjoy, most like riding a bike of any electric bike I've tried. The Bosch is smooth, but still feels like an assist. If I'd skip the bionx. I have found hub motors want to go within a limited speed band where they are most efficient. If you push harder you'll get minimal help, and under their efficient speed they bog down and eventually aren't contributing much help.

The only negative to the sduro, which court (site owner) had pointed out, is that the motor cuts out at about 90rpm. If your cadence is that high, I would probably say skip it. I ride at about 70rpm so for me it is a non issue. If that works for you, the sduro is definitely worth a ride.

If you'll be riding primarily on trails, I wouldn't worry about reaching spedelec speeds (i found on my 2 weekend rides anything more than 17mph or so seems unnecessary), but if you want to ride that fast on the street, an easy motion hub bike might also be a good choice - their bikes say 20mph limit but if you read and watch some of court's reviews they actually go to about 24mph.

Hi, thanks for your reply. My 40km round-trip commute is definitely challenging and I'm hoping the right ebike will allow me to ride to work at least 80% of the time. Though I consider myself to be in relatively decent shape, the trip is quite challenging (due in part to having to work outside all day and living in a mountainous area of west coast BC). If I was commuting to an office and sitting at a desk all day I would probably welcome the workout!

The Sduro line does sound quite solid, though I'm not sure if and when my LBS will be receiving them. I did like the feel of the Bosch CX torque up the hills, but found myself wanting more on the speed end of things (maybe I just like a little extra adrenaline for the early morning commute?). I found myself reaching speed (30km) then encountering resistance when trying to go faster, when usually I would achieve those higher speeds on flats or slight grades with my regular bicycle. My entire commute is on tarmac, so a speed pedelec would make the trip doable, and enjoyable I'm sure.

Another bike that seems to fit is the Trek XM700+, though I haven't yet been able to find it here in Canada. Any Canadians know where to get this bike?

Or perhaps anyone know of a similar commuter-style set-up that runs on the same Bosch Performance Speed motor?

I hope to hop on a few more bikes this week to see what feels good.

18 miles is a big commute! Hope there's not to many hills too for ya? The partial commute/transit trip isn't so bad, much better than sitting in traffic in your car or slamming on the brakes as another lovely driver cuts you off without signalling a lane change. Much better!
 

pxpaulx

Well-Known Member
My full commute would be 27 miles one way. Too much for me to start with! I'm initially planning on busing to work, then riding home. Fortunately I can pick up the bus at about the eighteen mile mark if I'm tired. That segment is relatively flat.

The last 9 miles go down to the Minnesota river basin and at the end it is a mile haul uphill, which is doable but I'm going to probably avoid to start with.

Good luck finding a bike! Oh, you should see if you can find some of the Raleigh bikes to try out as well, should be more readily available in Canada than some other brands.
 

Ravi Kempaiah

Well-Known Member
Nice to see somebody thinking about ebikes for such long commutes.

I myself commuted 100km roundtrip 3 to 4 days a week for 4 months.

I'll briefly share my observations re: your situation.
  1. It's super fun and you'll be in terrific shape at the end of the season.
  2. For me, time management was important and I was spending 3 hours on the bike + 30 mins prep time (shower, rest, change of clothes). So, having a bike that goes 28-30mph with active pedaling was very important.
  3. Whatever system you pick, you definitely need a speed pedelec. However, Bosch system demands more input from you.
  4. You need ~600whr in battery capacity. Can't emphasize this enough. There will be days when you just want to go home and rest. Days when the headwinds are crazy.
  5. Whatever bike you pick, negotiate a second charger for your office use.
  6. Integrated lights are very important. During the summer, you may not realize it, you'll certainly find it useful after October.
  7. There are people that unlock the BionX system for a nominal fee but you'll also void warranty with that.
  8. My suggestion is go with OHM. If you're pressed for budget, grin technologies or Luna cycles have products that can serve you well.
Best wishes to you as you start your e-commute lifestyle.
 

Jack Tyler

Active Member
@e_adventure if you get a chance to sample an OHM bike, I hope you'll post your impressions. Being a joint U.S./CAD distributor, perhaps it's likely you'll find one locally. I've been disappointed that there isn't a stronger OHM community here, as some more input from a diversity of settings and uses would be useful info.

Jack
 

JoePah

Well-Known Member
@e_adventure You sound like a younger version of someone I know..lol

Since you already have biked a lot, you might already own a good quality bike for commuting purposes.

Suggest you check out Golden Motors Canada.. He is a rock solid DIY vendor and has great prices. For around $1000 he could sell you a nice commuter kit that you could install on your bike.. My only other suggestion would be to buy a nice gel seat with a suspension spring, and Ergo grips from Germany. When you ride every day, even though itls only 40 km, you don't want to get sore doing it!

What you'll find with these eBikes is that they are just so so bike components with a great ebike design around them.

http://www.goldenmotor.ca/
 

George S.

Well-Known Member
@e_adventure You sound like a younger version of someone I know..lol

Since you already have biked a lot, you might already own a good quality bike for commuting purposes.

Suggest you check out Golden Motors Canada.. He is a rock solid DIY vendor and has great prices. For around $1000 he could sell you a nice commuter kit that you could install on your bike.. My only other suggestion would be to buy a nice gel seat with a suspension spring, and Ergo grips from Germany. When you ride every day, even though itls only 40 km, you don't want to get sore doing it!

What you'll find with these eBikes is that they are just so so bike components with a great ebike design around them.

http://www.goldenmotor.ca/

They are impressive motors, especially the Magic Pie V with a 48v system.

https://aroundhome.org/electric-bike-kit-install/

It's a pretty easy build. GM Canada seems to be locked into heavy and expensive LiFePo4 battery packs. The motor is pretty heavy to start. You could find a nice frame and components, still be way below budget. I'd go with a steel frame if possible, plus torque arms, top disk brakes.

Sad about the quality of the actual bike on some models.
 

e_adventure

New Member
Nice to see somebody thinking about ebikes for such long commutes.

I myself commuted 100km roundtrip 3 to 4 days a week for 4 months.

I'll briefly share my observations re: your situation.
  1. It's super fun and you'll be in terrific shape at the end of the season.
  2. For me, time management was important and I was spending 3 hours on the bike + 30 mins prep time (shower, rest, change of clothes). So, having a bike that goes 28-30mph with active pedaling was very important.
  3. Whatever system you pick, you definitely need a speed pedelec. However, Bosch system demands more input from you.
  4. You need ~600whr in battery capacity. Can't emphasize this enough. There will be days when you just want to go home and rest. Days when the headwinds are crazy.
  5. Whatever bike you pick, negotiate a second charger for your office use.
  6. Integrated lights are very important. During the summer, you may not realize it, you'll certainly find it useful after October.
  7. There are people that unlock the BionX system for a nominal fee but you'll also void warranty with that.
  8. My suggestion is go with OHM. If you're pressed for budget, grin technologies or Luna cycles have products that can serve you well.
Best wishes to you as you start your e-commute lifestyle.

Cheers, thanks for your observations. For me, time management will also be important since I start work pretty early and really don't want to have to wake any earlier than I already do. I usually ride with rechargeable lights for those early mornings (especially after October! It is nice to live on the west coast as I can bike year round, but the winter mornings can be quite dark, wet, and chilly). That being said, it would really be nice to have the integrated higher quality lights- much safer and easier too.

The more I mull it over the more I realize that a speed pedelec would be a much preferred setup for my daily commute, and more fun to boot. I think the OHM comes with a 555wh battery so that's a nice feature too. Doesn't hurt to have the throttle assist, and I like how it can override the pedal assist unlike some others out there.

I wouldn't be too keen to void a warranty to unlock a motor on a kit bike to make it go faster either... Doesn't seem worth the risk. The lower price is tempting, but I'd pay for it in other ways.

The OHM does seem like a pretty sweet setup, and would be awesome to support a local company. Just gotta crunch some numbers But I will check into Grin technologies in the meantime to see if there's something that can suit my needs.

Thanks
 

e_adventure

New Member
@e_adventure if you get a chance to sample an OHM bike, I hope you'll post your impressions. Being a joint U.S./CAD distributor, perhaps it's likely you'll find one locally. I've been disappointed that there isn't a stronger OHM community here, as some more input from a diversity of settings and uses would be useful info.

Jack

Will do!
 

e_adventure

New Member
@e_adventure You sound like a younger version of someone I know..lol

Since you already have biked a lot, you might already own a good quality bike for commuting purposes.

Suggest you check out Golden Motors Canada.. He is a rock solid DIY vendor and has great prices. For around $1000 he could sell you a nice commuter kit that you could install on your bike.. My only other suggestion would be to buy a nice gel seat with a suspension spring, and Ergo grips from Germany. When you ride every day, even though itls only 40 km, you don't want to get sore doing it!

What you'll find with these eBikes is that they are just so so bike components with a great ebike design around them.

http://www.goldenmotor.ca/

Thanks for the suggestion! Looks like some pretty solid kits. It would be fun to have a DIY project like this, but my bike isn't really the right setup... It's an old steel triathlon frame (light, but quite solid)- but I'm finding the geometry is a little too aggressive for my long daily commutes. I've really been craving a more upright geometry and a bit of front suspension too- I love how zippy my bicycle is but not sure it would feel good for the longer haul. Won't be getting rid of it though! An ebike retrofit is still a valid option, if I found the right bike with the right kit.... However while it is more expensive, I am still pretty impressed with the OHM setup!
 

e_adventure

New Member
They are impressive motors, especially the Magic Pie V with a 48v system.

https://aroundhome.org/electric-bike-kit-install/

It's a pretty easy build. GM Canada seems to be locked into heavy and expensive LiFePo4 battery packs. The motor is pretty heavy to start. You could find a nice frame and components, still be way below budget. I'd go with a steel frame if possible, plus torque arms, top disk brakes.

Sad about the quality of the actual bike on some models.

Definitely something to consider... Nice to see some solid Canadian companies in the game!
 

JoePah

Well-Known Member
Just something to consider.. You can also buy a nice commuter bike locally, or convert your old bike to a commuter.
 

e_adventure

New Member
I do like the look of the semi-integrated battery on the wheeler (though I find the OHM to still be quite streamlined too)- though not a bike I see around my neck of the woods.

I tested out an OHM xu700 the other day and was also impressed with the D500- very smooth and powerful. I agree that it may not handle the steepest of MTB climbs as well as the Bosch CX, but I found it to be much more zippy and consistent with the long urban climbs that I'll be facing. There is that bit of a delay that you mentioned for safety, but it's not as much of a concern for me.

I'm lucky enough to live just up the road from OHM's headquarters and spoke with co-founder, Michael DeVisser about the bikes before taking one for a spin. This bike has been by far the most solid and beautiful setup of the ebikes I have been testing out, and I'm stoked to have a local company to support. That being said, I'm just working through the details now, and should be out riding it soon!

For those that are interested, keep an eye on the OHM forum. I plan to post some thoughts and experiences after riding it for a bit
 

Jack Tyler

Active Member
@e_adventure thanks for the comments on the OHM and for the heads-up to monitor that forum. I'm about to fly half way across the country in order to sample a variety of ebikes, and the XU700 is perhaps the one I'm most curious about. For me, one Q is whether it can be modified to accommodate the mountain bike trails - not gnarly and root-laden, but unimproved nonetheless - that reside on all sides of my Montana valley. So please: Keep those 'thoughts and experiences' coming!
 

e_adventure

New Member
@e_adventure thanks for the comments on the OHM and for the heads-up to monitor that forum. I'm about to fly half way across the country in order to sample a variety of ebikes, and the XU700 is perhaps the one I'm most curious about. For me, one Q is whether it can be modified to accommodate the mountain bike trails - not gnarly and root-laden, but unimproved nonetheless - that reside on all sides of my Montana valley. So please: Keep those 'thoughts and experiences' coming!

The OHM bikes can definitely be modified to be more of a trail setup. Have you checked out their line of "off road bikes"? The XS750 has the same frame, motor, and fork as the XU700, but runs burlier tires and more aggressive style with the stem and bars and upgraded drivetrain. That being said, the XU700 feels very solid and capable for light trail riding- could just upgrade the tires if you wanted more trail grip!