Looking for an ebike to replace my Electra Townie 21

Recently retired and have been riding my old Electra Townie since last summer. My fitness level is improving but I am thinking an ebike would enable me to explore further and more variable trails and roadways. Given that I am in my late 60’s, overweight with diabetes and arthritis, I am trying to lose weight, improve overall fitness, endurance, stamina, speed and the length of my rides. I will never be a road bike racer but would like to ride with family and maybe some friends that bike. My thinking is that an ebike would help me to keep up with others when I ride with them and give me a boost. Although I like the Townie, I can’t seem to pick up much speed past an average of 8 mph. Is an ebike what I need ? If so which one would people recommend? I have been on very short Test rides on a Vado and a Verve+2 and the Verve+2 felt comfortable to my body but I could not get an idea of how much help it would be to me to ride faster, further, and on hills given my weight is 240 lbs. I have seen the Allant+ ebikes onLine and some others. Some have the more powerful motor and are Class 3 ebikes. Is a Class 3 bike going to be too much power for me or restrict where I can ride? Currently I ride in the street, local greenways, and some tamer dirt walking trails. I want to be able to ride in National, state and local parks. Recommendations on bike choice for improving my fitness and riding are welcome and appreciated.
 

AlanDB

Well-Known Member
An ebike will definitely enable you to increase your range and average speed. It will also take away much anxiety about hills, wind, and distance.

A lot of the questions you ask are personal preference and you will get different answers depending on who you ask. The best way to answer your questions is to do as many test rides as possible and make up your own mind.

That said, I am 73, 240 pounds with lots of aches and pains and not in that great of shape. I find my Gazelle Arroyo gives me plenty of assist, range and speed. It is a comfortable ride and gives me the confidence to ride with my other family members. I have no problem keeping up with them. We typically maintain an average speed of about 12 or 13 MPH. I normally ride using the lowest assist level, and bump it up a level or two when going up a hill. With the type of riding I do, I definitely do not need the speed of a Class 3 ebike. If I was younger and using my bike on streets for commuting to work, I would probably have a different opinion.

Since you like your Townie, why not look at one of the Townie ebike models? I have not ridden one, but they seem to be pretty popular.
 
An ebike will definitely enable you to increase your range and average speed. It will also take away much anxiety about hills, wind, and distance.

A lot of the questions you ask are personal preference and you will get different answers depending on who you ask. The best way to answer your questions is to do as many test rides as possible and make up your own mind.

That said, I am 73, 240 pounds with lots of aches and pains and not in that great of shape. I find my Gazelle Arroyo gives me plenty of assist, range and speed. It is a comfortable ride and gives me the confidence to ride with my other family members. I have no problem keeping up with them. We typically maintain an average speed of about 12 or 13 MPH. I normally ride using the lowest assist level, and bump it up a level or two when going up a hill. With the type of riding I do, I definitely do not need the speed of a Class 3 ebike. If I was younger and using my bike on streets for commuting to work, I would probably have a different opinion.

Since you like your Townie, why not look at one of the Townie ebike models? I have not ridden one, but they seem to be pretty popular.
 
Thank you AlanDB. That is helpful information. I will check out the Gazelle Arroyo. Like you, I will not be using it for commuting but rather for recreational riding and when we get past this Covid19 I will resume riding my bike to the grocery store and other close by errands. I had seen some comments on this EBR site that describes some Class 1 ebikes has having anemic motors and wondered if my weight would keep that kind of ebike from being much assist. On the other hand I cannot imagine a real need for me to go faster than 20 mph other than downhill. The Verve+3 seems to be maybe a step up from my Townie but my LBS that is closest to me has suggested the lowstep Allant+7 which has a little more torque, 50 NM vs 75NM. I don’t know how much difference that 25 NM torque would make.
 

DannyMcD

New Member
My mom has some issues with her leg joints and was looking to get a bike with a class 1 mid drive system with low entry, she ended up with a Kalkhoff, it's pretty basic, a boshe middrive with an 8 speed internal gear, hydraulic rim brakes and 500w battery and weighs about 40-50lbs, she got it on sale from an Amish e-bike shop for about 1500. The Gazelles are also a good pick from what I've seen at the store. These bikes will get you to the 12-15mph mark with ease but more importantly even out the effort when climbing hills, which can build up some anxiety and stress at just the thought of them.

I built a class 3 mid drive ebike, and it'll top out around 35mph if i crank it to max output and go to the highest gear, defiantly not what you're looking for. A good entry level class 1 with a 500w battery will give you more range than you'll ever need. I really haven't heard bad things about any e-bike brand other than radpower, but that was just one person, I know other people that have them that love them as well.

I was up around 225, I suffer from an autoimmune disease that gets into my joints really bad as well and the bike riding didn't do anything for my weight loss, if you're looking to do that you have to do the diet thing. Just down load an app to count calories ( I use "lose it", you'll start around a budget of 1800/day), cut out the sugar drinks, cheese, dairy, and cream sauces/dressings, from that it's actually pretty easy. I went to oatmeal, soups and salads for breakfast and lunch, that'll leave you about 1k calories for a nice dinner because dinner is where you enjoy life. I dropped about 35lbs doing this in about 2-3mo's, currently 191lbs which i managed to maintain thru the winter. I started another round of dieting yesterday. the weight loss has made a huge difference in my joint pain.
 

Btsmith29

New Member
My friend, the bike you should consider is the Magnum Cruiser or Low Rider. They use nearly the same design as a Townie. I've owned three Townies in the past and loved them and when I decided it was time to upgrade to an ebike, the Magnum was the perfect choice. I'm 6'0" 290 lbs, 55 yrs young with a bad hip and back. I now ride 3-5 times a week, weather permitting down the road to a Metropark, around the lake and back for a 13 mile trip. The paved path around the lake has some hills I could never get up on my own with the Townie, but with the Magnum, No problem. 5 levels of pedal assist. I mostly use pedal assist 1 and occasionally on the hills I use pedal assist 2. 500 watt motor and 48 volt battery. I'm getting approximately 40 miles or about 4 hours per charge. Can be configured as Class 2 or 3. I have mine configured as a Class 2 and disconnected the throttle. I've rode around Mackinac Island. The road that goes around Mackinac Island is 8.2 miles and mostly flat. Even though the Magnum is slightly on the heavy side at 60 lbs, riding the road around the Island you hardly need to use the pedal assist unless you're going to the inside of the island where there are hills then the pedal assist is great. After about 20 visits to Mackinac Island, I just started exploring the inner part now that I have an ebike. Ebikes are technically not allowed on Mackinac Island but I hear some exceptions are made for those with documented handicap and need the use of an ebike. I've tried to follow up with police on the island but have had no success yet and will continue to try. I do see many others on the island with an ebike. I think if you don't abuse the added assist and remain respectful to other riders and walkers you can ride in peace.
Good luck and I hope this helps,
Brian
 

indianajo

Well-Known Member
I'm age 69, 170 lb down from 213 in 2008. I suggest if you don't have major joint or back problems, that you buy a bike that allows you to ride your regular exercise routine without power. This means a bike that doesn't drag with the power off. Such bikes include geared hub motor bikes, and mid-drives from shimano and yamaha. I use the power on my bike for days when the wind is >12 mph in my face, or trips over 25 miles with lots of hills. Also days when my US Army damaged knees lock up, when I use the throttle to not pedal. I realize that throttle keeps me out of many parks and trails, but I don't run a car anymore so those areas are out of range anyway. I ride on local roads.
I would suggest wattage 350 and above is not a problem unless you live in the very hilly part of Alabama.
I ride at 8 mph usually, pulse 100-150 bpm over 1/2 hour to 3 1/2 hours. The important number for my health is the pulse rate, not the speed of the bicycle. Don't get your heart rate over 200-your age without consulting a physician. However, my cardiologist told me never to go over 131 bpm, he also told me there is nothing wrong with my heart, so I'm not going to stop peaking at 169 occasionally. A big surprise out on the road might be fatal, but I'd rather go that way than the dementia I have a 50% chance of coming down with, going by the grandparents 2 of which had it age >88.
 
My mom has some issues with her leg joints and was looking to get a bike with a class 1 mid drive system with low entry, she ended up with a Kalkhoff, it's pretty basic, a boshe middrive with an 8 speed internal gear, hydraulic rim brakes and 500w battery and weighs about 40-50lbs, she got it on sale from an Amish e-bike shop for about 1500. The Gazelles are also a good pick from what I've seen at the store. These bikes will get you to the 12-15mph mark with ease but more importantly even out the effort when climbing hills, which can build up some anxiety and stress at just the thought of them.

I built a class 3 mid drive ebike, and it'll top out around 35mph if i crank it to max output and go to the highest gear, defiantly not what you're looking for. A good entry level class 1 with a 500w battery will give you more range than you'll ever need. I really haven't heard bad things about any e-bike brand other than radpower, but that was just one person, I know other people that have them that love them as well.

I was up around 225, I suffer from an autoimmune disease that gets into my joints really bad as well and the bike riding didn't do anything for my weight loss, if you're looking to do that you have to do the diet thing. Just down load an app to count calories ( I use "lose it", you'll start around a budget of 1800/day), cut out the sugar drinks, cheese, dairy, and cream sauces/dressings, from that it's actually pretty easy. I went to oatmeal, soups and salads for breakfast and lunch, that'll leave you about 1k calories for a nice dinner because dinner is where you enjoy life. I dropped about 35lbs doing this in about 2-3mo's, currently 191lbs which i managed to maintain thru the winter. I started another round of dieting yesterday. the weight loss has made a huge difference in my joint pain.
Thanks for your message. Good advice about the weight loss. I know exercise alone will not drop the lbs but I am diabetic and it helps the blood sugars and my overall fitness not to mention my stAte of mind. It makes me feel so good. Sounds like you are making good progress with your weight loss. I have been using the Weight Watchers program and it is helpful. It helps to know what other people in my age group and with weight issues are riding. I do have some hills here and even a mountain or two, but I definitely avoid the mountains. Thanks again and keep up the good work on the weight loss.
 
I'm age 69, 170 lb down from 213 in 2008. I suggest if you don't have major joint or back problems, that you buy a bike that allows you to ride your regular exercise routine without power. This means a bike that doesn't drag with the power off. Such bikes include geared hub motor bikes, and mid-drives from shimano and yamaha. I use the power on my bike for days when the wind is >12 mph in my face, or trips over 25 miles with lots of hills. Also days when my US Army damaged knees lock up, when I use the throttle to not pedal. I realize that throttle keeps me out of many parks and trails, but I don't run a car anymore so those areas are out of range anyway. I ride on local roads.
I would suggest wattage 350 and above is not a problem unless you live in the very hilly part of Alabama.
I ride at 8 mph usually, pulse 100-150 bpm over 1/2 hour to 3 1/2 hours. The important number for my health is the pulse rate, not the speed of the bicycle. Don't get your heart rate over 200-your age without consulting a physician. However, my cardiologist told me never to go over 131 bpm, he also told me there is nothing wrong with my heart, so I'm not going to stop peaking at 169 occasionally. A big surprise out on the road might be fatal, but I'd rather go that way than the dementia I have a 50% chance of coming down with, going by the grandparents 2 of which had it age >88.
Thanks Indianajo. I do live in a hilly area and am trying to delay the time when I will need knee replacement surgery. Riding the bike seems to help my knee and joints but if I try to pedal more forcefully it can cause some pain. I had ankle surgery last fall and also have some neuropathy. My heart rate usually get up around 135 to 140 during a 35-45 minute ride so I am thinking that is okay. I will take to heart what you say about getting a bike I can ride without the power necessarily used. One of my concerns about an ebike is its weight. My primary purpose is to get exercise. Do you have any experience with the Bosch Performance motors ?
 
My friend, the bike you should consider is the Magnum Cruiser or Low Rider. They use nearly the same design as a Townie. I've owned three Townies in the past and loved them and when I decided it was time to upgrade to an ebike, the Magnum was the perfect choice. I'm 6'0" 290 lbs, 55 yrs young with a bad hip and back. I now ride 3-5 times a week, weather permitting down the road to a Metropark, around the lake and back for a 13 mile trip. The paved path around the lake has some hills I could never get up on my own with the Townie, but with the Magnum, No problem. 5 levels of pedal assist. I mostly use pedal assist 1 and occasionally on the hills I use pedal assist 2. 500 watt motor and 48 volt battery. I'm getting approximately 40 miles or about 4 hours per charge. Can be configured as Class 2 or 3. I have mine configured as a Class 2 and disconnected the throttle. I've rode around Mackinac Island. The road that goes around Mackinac Island is 8.2 miles and mostly flat. Even though the Magnum is slightly on the heavy side at 60 lbs, riding the road around the Island you hardly need to use the pedal assist unless you're going to the inside of the island where there are hills then the pedal assist is great. After about 20 visits to Mackinac Island, I just started exploring the inner part now that I have an ebike. Ebikes are technically not allowed on Mackinac Island but I hear some exceptions are made for those with documented handicap and need the use of an ebike. I've tried to follow up with police on the island but have had no success yet and will continue to try. I do see many others on the island with an ebike. I think if you don't abuse the added assist and remain respectful to other riders and walkers you can ride in peace.
Good luck and I hope this helps,
Brian
Brian. I will definitely check out the Magnum. Are they sold through bike shops? I am looking for something that I can buy and get serviced through one if the local bike shops. Sounds like you have some nice places to explore on your bike!! ThaNks for your input. It is appreciated.
 

dAz63

Member
If you like your townie then consider fitting a mid drive motor kit to it, a bbshd can help you climb any hill you want.
 

Btsmith29

New Member
Brian. I will definitely check out the Magnum. Are they sold through bike shops? I am looking for something that I can buy and get serviced through one if the local bike shops. Sounds like you have some nice places to explore on your bike!! ThaNks for your input. It is appreciated.
There are 3 bike shops within 20 miles of me that sell and service Magnums. I think many ebike stores do the same. They are a popular brand and sell out just as quickly as the dealers can get them in. Their HQ is in Salt Lake city. The only time the weight on them is a factor is when I'm putting them on the car bike rack. I have two, a cruiser and a Low Rider for my wife. Check out Courts video review of the Cruiser and take one for a test ride when you can. Again, I couldn't be happier with mine. Tomorrow is suppose to be 58 degrees and I'll be at the park riding. Good luck.
 

PatriciaK

Active Member
If you were interested in the Trek, take a look at Giant's e-offerings. I have the La Free E+2, which is a mid drive with traditional chain, and they also make the E+1, which has a belt drive. I live in a hilly area, and zip right up with no problem. Both models are Class 1, so you can ride them pretty much everywhere. There are 3 frame sizes, too, so you can get a good fit.

Details here: https://www.giant-bicycles.com/us/bikes-lafree-eplus
 

indianajo

Well-Known Member
. One of my concerns about an ebike is its weight. My primary purpose is to get exercise. Do you have any experience with the Bosch Performance motors ?
I didn't consider Bosch because they drag like a boat anchor with the power off. The bafang bbshd mid drive motor mentioned by DAZ63 also drags power off. There are some rumors the most powerful most recent Bosch Performance line doesn't drag with the power off, but not confirmed yet. Take one out and ride it to confirm the rumors. Most people posting here ride bicycles like motorcycles. I only do that to avoid 6 hour commutes that should be 3.5 hours due to wind.
Regular bike riding has pulled my A1C from 8 to 6.9 and chloresterol from 210 to 155 since 2008. Also my knees have less pain when I am in shape aerobically. See Dr. Ken Cooper Aerobics about the endomorphine benefit of the program. I have no cartlege in the knees, and bone spurs besides. Also remember the recent report via bbcnews.com of a club of regular 70-85 year old bike riders that have repair cells (T cells) in the same quantity as average 29 year olds. The more repair cells, the more repair, also maybe less cancer & infections. My infections have certainly decreased since 2008 when I quit driving. (I'm part Native Am).
I carry 60 lb groceries frequently up steep hills to my summer camp, so my bike gross weight is 310 lb sometimes. I was more concerned about having a sprocket ratio as low as 1:1 than I was about the weight. I have 32:32 to 52:11 ratios on my bodaboda. Since I don't lift the bike onto a car. If you do, there are bike racks for the back with ramps. My bike left with battery motor & 5 lb tire tools weighs about 70 lb. Yamaha mid drives allow 2 front sprockets for more ratios, but most mid drives do not. Be aware 11 speed rear sprockets wear the chain quickly with mid drive, as low as 500 miles life one person reported. I'm using 8 speed rear, 3 front and have 5000 miles on my chain with the hub motor not stressing it.
 
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Thomas Jaszewski

Well-Known Member
Townies are my favorite bike to convert to an eBike. I have one with front hub motors and several copies, KHS with mid drives.
The most recent flat foot bike is a KHS Smoothie step through. Essentially a Townie frame geometry copy.

I'm ALWAYS on the hunt for Townies to convert. Older townies were especially sweet frames! Very overbuilt compared to the newest Electra Townie frames.
 
Townies are my favorite bike to convert to an eBike. I have one with front hub motors and several copies, KHS with mid drives.
The most recent flat foot bike is a KHS Smoothie step through. Essentially a Townie frame geometry copy.

I'm ALWAYS on the hunt for Townies to convert. Older townies were especially sweet frames! Very overbuilt compared to the newest Electra Townie frames.
Mine is an older Townie 😁 I love it but want something that will go faster and that I could ride with people riding road bikes possibly