Looking for Advice on City Commute due to COVID-19

tehni

New Member
Hi, everyone! New user here looking into e-bikes as an emergency option for transportation due to the SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19 pandemic. As someone who is working directly in this situation in the medical field, I am considered essential personnel and must come to work to help do what needs to be done. I am typically a bus commuter, but have occasionally done the ride services when public transportation has become spotty. Under these current circumstances, I've seen the public transit slow down to extreme limited service despite the measures being taken and ride services rescind their promotional deals and partnerships with healthcare facilities such as $5 back for every 5 rides due to less revenue. I've looked into different solutions with maybe carpooling or e-scooter rentals, but I finally settled on purchasing an e-bike to relieve any anxiety of having to be dependent on someone or something that I don't own.

I'm 5'2" and, according to a local e-bike shop dealer, my weight is fine for any type of folding bike. My commute is about 4.2mi one way, so about a 30min ride to work with existing mixed bicycling network (some sharrow, some designated bike paths, some citybus/bike lanes, cycles, etc.) Folding bikes are ideal for me because I can store them close by as the concern for theft is real unfortunately. I'm not an avid biker in general as I haven't biked in the last two years (or fifteen years). Do I have plans to use this after this situation has subsided? Possibly. I want something that is safe and reliable and still have the option for other types of rides in the future that is considered a Class 2. Here are the bikes that my local e-bike shop suggested along with the one that I had my eye on:


EDITED FOR CLARIFICATION:

  • Pedego Latch *my first choice*
  • Magnum Classic (Low-Step and High-Step Versions)
  • Magnum Premium I (Low-Step and High-step Versions)
  • Oyama CX E8D Series II

The Latch caught my eye because of the premium feel to it with the smart choices and attention to detail, but it is expensive compared to the Magnums. According to the local retailer, at my height, the Magnums might be more accessible in terms of reach of the handle bar and the seat. Oyama's are reputable, but specialize in torque sensors that is basically not a good thing in city traffic (his words). If Pedego is worth it in these comparisons, I would rather get something that is more durable and and compact in the long-run.

Anyone have any real commuting experience with any of these bikes?
 
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Dewey

Well-Known Member
I expect you can test ride all 3 and see what you think about height and fit. If you are able to get to Baltimore or DC also test ride a Tern Vektron, another good folding ebike, the handlebar is particularly good and very adjustable, D7i model is the least expensive one at two grand but a good commuter.
 

tehni

New Member

I expect you can test ride all 3 and see what you think about height and fit. If you are able to get to Baltimore or DC also test ride a Tern Vektron, another good folding ebike, the handlebar is particularly good and very adjustable, D7i model is the least expensive one at two grand but a good commuter.

As a promise to the dealer, I said I'd narrow it down to two just because of this stuff. He's doing me a solid by coming to meet me to bring me the bikes. So I guess my issue right now is to try make more of an educated decision so we can minimize contact.
 

TMH

Well-Known Member
Sorry, but I don't have any experience commuting on any of the listed bikes.

But looking at them and their specs, maybe I can provide some feedback to your question.

I'm thinking that I would eliminate the Oyama right off. I don't see the 'x8D' on their web site, but I do see a model 'CX E8D'. Is it the same bike? It has a small motor (250w) and an even smaller battery (6.6 AH). Too weak in my estimation for a commuter. More of an 'around the neighborhood' or 'from the campsite to the camp store' bike.

The Pedego also has the smaller 250 watt motor, but it has a reasonable battery size. I generally don't like the balance/handling of e-bikes which have the battery hanging off the back, but at least the drive motor is in the front to balance things out a bit, and Pedegos are generally well designed. Belt drive with IGH are great on a commuter as they are almost no required maintenance compared to a chain drive.

For the Magnum you specify 'Classic/Premium I', which seems to be 2 different bikes to me. They have the Classic (low step, I presume) and the 'Premium Low Step'. These bikes have 350 watt/36 volt and 500 watt/48 volt systems, respectively. So both are more powerful than either the Pedego or the Oyama. The Magnums might have better balance and handling due to the central/low mounting position of the battery. Plus the battery in this position might make them easier to fold and carry, as compared to the Pedego's rear mounted battery.

I would save the money and go for the more powerful Magnum bike at this point. It sounds like you have never had an e-bike before, so this one most likely won't be your last. Don't go all out now - save the money on this purchase, use the bike for your commute right now and to figure out what you really like or don't like about a folding, small wheeled e-bike, and then choose your next one from there.

Good luck, enjoy and stay safe.
 

tehni

New Member
Sorry, but I don't have any experience commuting on any of the listed bikes.

But looking at them and their specs, maybe I can provide some feedback to your question.

I'm thinking that I would eliminate the Oyama right off. I don't see the 'x8D' on their web site, but I do see a model 'CX E8D'. Is it the same bike? It has a small motor (250w) and an even smaller battery (6.6 AH). Too weak in my estimation for a commuter. More of an 'around the neighborhood' or 'from the campsite to the camp store' bike.

The Pedego also has the smaller 250 watt motor, but it has a reasonable battery size. I generally don't like the balance/handling of e-bikes which have the battery hanging off the back, but at least the drive motor is in the front to balance things out a bit, and Pedegos are generally well designed. Belt drive with IGH are great on a commuter as they are almost no required maintenance compared to a chain drive.

For the Magnum you specify 'Classic/Premium I', which seems to be 2 different bikes to me. They have the Classic (low step, I presume) and the 'Premium Low Step'. These bikes have 350 watt/36 volt and 500 watt/48 volt systems, respectively. So both are more powerful than either the Pedego or the Oyama. The Magnums might have better balance and handling due to the central/low mounting position of the battery. Plus the battery in this position might make them easier to fold and carry, as compared to the Pedego's rear mounted battery.

I would save the money and go for the more powerful Magnum bike at this point. It sounds like you have never had an e-bike before, so this one most likely won't be your last. Don't go all out now - save the money on this purchase, use the bike for your commute right now and to figure out what you really like or don't like about a folding, small wheeled e-bike, and then choose your next one from there.

Good luck, enjoy and stay safe.

Thank you for your input. You are correct in that the Oyama bike that I wrote was incorrect. He listed a CX E8D SERIES II which has a 350w motor -- bit of a busy and tiring day.

The Magnums are separate bikes, you're right. He wrote to me that both the classic and the premium I have both a high step model and low-step model so I'd have my pick of 4 types of bikes there.

He did lean towards Magnums for me in general, suggesting a low step but he left the type of model for me to decide amongst the four Magnum models.

Does my lack of knowledge really show? :oops: It's true that I am very new to the world of e-bikes, but out of the possible types of transportation an e-bike seems to be my solution in general as e-scooters are only as good as their charge are effectively dead in the water in comparison to an e-bike that has lost its charge since I can still use it as a regular bike. It's bit jarring to have to look into this area with little-to-no knowledge from the get-go. Some of the informational videos I've watched haven't sunk in yet with the terminology so I'm entirely basing my decision on other people's advice and learn as I go. It's an extenuating circumstance to say the least in chaotic times.
 
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tehni

New Member
Between the two I test drove today, Magnum Premium I Low Step with a bigger battery and the Oyama CX E8D Series II, I chose the Oyama based on a few things, mostly due to comfort level.

There weren't a lot of reviews out there, but for this particular model which is an upgrade (torque) from the old CX E8D with a smaller motor (with basic cadence sensor) that as reviewed here on the website. I read some pretty favorable compliments on this model despite it not being very widespread in the United States. After watching a video that @kenfagut was in, I was pretty interested based on aesthetics, price point, and QoL bits that made it more appealing.

Seeing it and riding it in person, I was happy to find that it seats lower in general (as compared to the Magnum) and as a short person, I can appreciate that. The hydraulic braking system makes me feel more secure in stopping as it is more responsive and the general riding experience has been a lot more agreeable because it did not feel as scary. The torque sensor system made for smooth transitions that feeling the motor work was like night and day between the more powerful Magnum model (cadence). There are throttles available for this bike, but I do not feel like I need one based on my comfort level and the torque sensor to assist my biking. Haven't had a chance to try out my route yet, but so far I really like the bike since it felt like I was riding a traditional bicycle. That familiar feeling helped me get over feeling incredibly uncomfortable pretty quickly.

My only problem really is that I seem to not have very strong hands to pull the main folding latch for the bike completely, lol. I guess that's a testament to how firm the frame is when locked together.
 
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antboy

Well-Known Member
When you say "chose" did you already buy the Oyama, or just liked it better?

Have you taken a look at the Qualisport Dolphin?


There's an EBR video on it as well. 350W motor 14ah battery, compact folder. It looks like a great option for commuting.
 

tehni

New Member
When you say "chose" did you already buy the Oyama, or just liked it better?

Have you taken a look at the Qualisport Dolphin?


There's an EBR video on it as well. 350W motor 14ah battery, compact folder. It looks like a great option for commuting.

Ah thanks for the reply, but I already purchased the bike. I went through a local retailer/repair shop and had to get something that was in his stock. He has been in the E-bike industry for awhile and was very upfront and honest with the bikes that he felt was suitable for my commute, even dissuading me from more expensive options that were too much and unnecessary for my needs. With my conditions and having been a retailer/repairer familiar with the commute that I am making personally, he picked the bikes that I mentioned for me to look at. There were a number of other reasons to go through him as well.
  • He would build me bikes to test drive
  • Install all accessories and upgrades
  • Bring them physically to me at my home
  • Discounts on everything as an essential worker after proof (bike, maintenance items, accessories, upgrades)
  • Build a better relationship with a local repairer to have my bike serviced when needed
  • Keep his business going during this time
He was very kind to give me so much advice and was patient with all my questions since I was forced into looking at an E-bike solution very suddenly due to SARS-CoV-2. His service in person was top notch, also practicing safe social distancing and precautions with masks and gloves. Constantly reassured me of his process in that that he worked on the bikes with gloves, etc.

I had looked on the forums and there was one particular thread that I looked at that really emphasized looking at local shops and building a good relationship with them. At first I was considering purchasing a bike online, but the thread mentioned that a repair shop might not even service a bike if they aren't familiar with it. That got me worried. So I called around and found this fellow who has honestly gone above and beyond typical customer service in a pandemic no less.
 
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antboy

Well-Known Member
Oh yeah, finding a local shop that you like is always a good thing.

I only mentioned the Dolphin because it strikes me as a perfect commuter.

Enjoy the ride!
 

Marci jo

Well-Known Member
Congrats on your new ebike!
Your commute is perfect distance for cycling.
I think you will really enjoy commuting and avoiding public transportation.
Looking forward to a photo of your new ebike.
Thank you for all you do.
 

tehni

New Member
@antboy @Marci jo Thank you! It's been rather scary to suddenly find myself riding a bike after more than a decade. I'm now in the process of trying to understand what I need in additional accessories as a city commuter. I didn't think that I'd be interested in a throttle given the torque sensor being really good, but I've asked him to install one now after a few days of trying to master the stop and go nature of traffic. It's pretty difficult as a short person to barely be able to push off quickly so a throttle would help me very much despite my initial wariness of it.
 

Marci jo

Well-Known Member
Tehni,
So glad you have a bike dealer working with you on your new ebike. My wrenching skills consists of putting air in the tires and adjusting the seat post. Anything else goes to the shop and they have treated me well over the years.

As any smart women knows, it’s accessories that complete the “outfit.”

The first two are essential for safety.
- Helmet if you don’t already have one.
- Mirror. Essential for riding in any traffic. I’ve been using Mirrcycle brand for years.

Nice to have:
- Bright lights. Even if you don’t ride at night, being seen by drivers is critical, since there’s still so many texters.
- Bag for your “stuff”. Lots of options.
- Suspension seat post. This helps smooth out the bumps. Maybe no so much for you since your bike has fat tires.
- Different seat. Only your butt will know if this one is necessary.

Oh, and the throttle! I rode a Pedego ebike couple years ago which had a throttle. Loved it for acceleration at stop lights and stop signs.

Ok that’s a start.
Please post how how your first few rides go. 🚴🏾‍♂️😃😎
 

tehni

New Member
Tehni,
So glad you have a bike dealer working with you on your new ebike. My wrenching skills consists of putting air in the tires and adjusting the seat post. Anything else goes to the shop and they have treated me well over the years.

As any smart women knows, it’s accessories that complete the “outfit.”

The first two are essential for safety.
- Helmet if you don’t already have one.
- Mirror. Essential for riding in any traffic. I’ve been using Mirrcycle brand for years.

Nice to have:
- Bright lights. Even if you don’t ride at night, being seen by drivers is critical, since there’s still so many texters.
- Bag for your “stuff”. Lots of options.
- Suspension seat post. This helps smooth out the bumps. Maybe no so much for you since your bike has fat tires.
- Different seat. Only your butt will know if this one is necessary.

Oh, and the throttle! I rode a Pedego ebike couple years ago which had a throttle. Loved it for acceleration at stop lights and stop signs.

Ok that’s a start.
Please post how how your first few rides go. 🚴🏾‍♂️😃😎

Yes, thank you!

So far I've gotten a few things from him directly and have in my possession:

Helmet - ABUS Pedalec 2.0
Chain lock and u lock - ABUS
Mirror - Mirrcycle
Multi-tool - Park Tool kit MT
Patch kit with tire levers
USB rechargable rear light (bike comes with always on headlight powered by main battery)
Tri-flow lube
Extra 20" tube
Pedego rear pannier (small)

Looking into:
E-horn for more auditory awareness for others
Possibly different seating
Pump

Unsure if there's anything else I would need as a new bike rider essentially. Or maybe there's something else specific for E-Bikes?
 
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Marci jo

Well-Known Member
Yes, thank you!

So far I've gotten a few things from him directly and have in my possession:

Helmet - ABUS Pedalec 2.0
Chain lock and u lock - ABUS
Mirror - Mirrcycle
Multi-tool - Park Tool kit MT
Patch kit with tire levers
USB rechargable rear light (bike comes with always on headlight powered by main battery)
Tri-flow lube
Extra 20" tube
Pedego rear pannier (small)

Looking into:
E-horn for more auditory awareness for others
Possibly different seating
Pump

Unsure if there's anything else I would need as a new bike rider essentially. Or maybe there's something else specific for E-Bikes?


A big huge ebike smile!
But that will come naturally.