Looking for Best Commuter/Touring bike for Hills

Michael G

New Member
I Own a 2012 Kalkhoff "Pro Connect"- In the main I've been happy but the bike is getting up there, Khalkoff has left the market in PDX and I'm weighing a new e-bike purchase vs throwing repair/maintenance dollars at the "Pro Connect". If I had one wish for improvement for a new purchase it would be more hillclimbing power. I'm a moderately fit 60 yr old and I live in very steep Hilly area of PDX. Even when I'm in the "best" of shape I still find the Kalkhoff with its weight not too drastic of an improvement over a lightweight traditional bike--in that I still have to bust a gut to get up that hill. So the question is what are some good new bikes that might have more torque in conquering hills? I am looking at two Specialized bikes the Turbo X (but looks like its being discontinued /) and Turbo Vado 5.0. I am sure there are other excellent options out there so I'm looking forward to hearing all your opinions. Thx Michael in PDX.
 

JRA

Well-Known Member
I am of a similar age and also live in the PDX and I find taking advantage of the generous 1000w allowable in OR limit makes a lot of sense. As it is twice the amount of wattage as any of the S bikes you mention a motor of that size will do a better job handling the hills. I can climb up any of the roads to Skyline with no problem as I live on that side of town but haven't ridden in the SW hills as of yet but am confident that I could with no problem.

While there are no big manufacturer bike brands that have bigger motors there are ways to get it done in a similar fashion to the bikes you are looking at with either a hub motor or a mid drive. I choose to use a 1000w front hub because that is what I have found to work the best for my needs. There is a good option in the Bafang BBSHD series motor for mid-drive conversion also. Putting together a custom build is not as hard as you would think and the best thing is that you get to choose the bike that suits you the best and work from there.

Here are the two I have built up, the black one was my v 1.0 and v 2.0 got the dietary treatment but they both perform pretty close to the same actually:

D903BC73-77F7-4447-A522-D4CFD35BF228.jpg


I see it said a lot that direct drive hubs won't climb well but I have not found that to be the case with these bikes. But there is a lot to be said for a mid drive being able to take advantage of the drive train also. I just like a hub motor for its all around attributes and the fact that it doesn't interfere with my pedaling style.
 

Michael G

New Member
I am of a similar age and also live in the PDX and I find taking advantage of the generous 1000w allowable in OR limit makes a lot of sense. As it is twice the amount of wattage as any of the S bikes you mention a motor of that size will do a better job handling the hills. I can climb up any of the roads to Skyline with no problem as I live on that side of town but haven't ridden in the SW hills as of yet but am confident that I could with no problem.

While there are no big manufacturer bike brands that have bigger motors there are ways to get it done in a similar fashion to the bikes you are looking at with either a hub motor or a mid drive. I choose to use a 1000w front hub because that is what I have found to work the best for my needs. There is a good option in the Bafang BBSHD series motor for mid-drive conversion also. Putting together a custom build is not as hard as you would think and the best thing is that you get to choose the bike that suits you the best and work from there.

Here are the two I have built up, the black one was my v 1.0 and v 2.0 got the dietary treatment but they both perform pretty close to the same actually:

View attachment 16563

I see it said a lot that direct drive hubs won't climb well but I have not found that to be the case with these bikes. But there is a lot to be said for a mid drive being able to take advantage of the drive train also. I just like a hub motor for its all around attributes and the fact that it doesn't interfere with my pedaling style.
Thanks for the prompt and informative reply. What is the relation between wattage power of the battery and the torque produced by the motor? Is it torque I should be looking for or just wattage? One of the reasons that I thought the S bikes were more capable was the at they produced 90 newton/m of torque whereas a lot of other options I have come across were half that at 45. Am I correct in thinking that the key is torque?
 

JRA

Well-Known Member
Torque for sure plays a factor and the mid drive's are big on touting the nm figures. However because the motor goes through the drive gears it is kind of more up to what gear you are in for your given situation and the same applies to a hub motor. A 48/52v battery @ 25+ amps will put out a maximum of 1200+ watts and a typical system like the Turbo/Vado at 36v/20 amps puts out 720 watts. The advantage the mid drive has is its ability to access the gearing so that helps to multiply the nm which can be calculated with this formula:

Watts to torque conversion can be mathematically derived from the below formula


With a hub motor I depend on my pedaling as much as I would with a mid drive and climb in the gear the compliments my desired cadence and input. I tend to not go to the limit unless I have to as ah savings are important to me so that I can go as far as I have planned for but I do always climb at a speed faster than I could without the motor using close to the same amount of input which is what makes it fun and still a workout. I do feel that running a 1000w motor at 750w is less stress on the motor though than maxing out a smaller motor and it is good to have some in reserve.

Not being much of a math wiz I do know I have climbed some seriously steep hills, both pavé and gravé with my bikes and they have never let me down.
 

DaleQ

New Member
So the question is what are some good new bikes that might have more torque in conquering hills?
Last winter, I purchased a used iZip E3 Dash for my daughter. When trying it out, I went up some extremely steep hills in West Seattle (and I weigh ~250 lbs) and was very impressed. I presume this is a function of having a mid-drive and being able to take advantage of the gearing. iZip is currently closing out 2016 models for $1499 and I can't imagine a better overall e-bike value. (Link Removed - No Longer Exists). It looks like Portland has a iZip dealer. Hope this helps.
 

Michael G

New Member
Torque for sure plays a factor and the mid drive's are big on touting the nm figures. However because the motor goes through the drive gears it is kind of more up to what gear you are in for your given situation and the same applies to a hub motor. A 48/52v battery @ 25+ amps will put out a maximum of 1200+ watts and a typical system like the Turbo/Vado at 36v/20 amps puts out 720 watts. The advantage the mid drive has is its ability to access the gearing so that helps to multiply the nm which can be calculated with this formula:

Watts to torque conversion can be mathematically derived from the below formula


With a hub motor I depend on my pedaling as much as I would with a mid drive and climb in the gear the compliments my desired cadence and input. I tend to not go to the limit unless I have to as ah savings are important to me so that I can go as far as I have planned for but I do always climb at a speed faster than I could without the motor using close to the same amount of input which is what makes it fun and still a workout. I do feel that running a 1000w motor at 750w is less stress on the motor though than maxing out a smaller motor and it is good to have some in reserve.

Not being much of a math wiz I do know I have climbed some seriously steep hills, both pavé and gravé with my bikes and they have never let me down.
Ah-- thx sp much. I was leaving out a very important part of the equation i.e. gearing for mid drives (can be a multiple or divider, depending on gear selected, yes?) --that and given your equation, torque increases with wattage-- Thx again for the knowledge--
 

RoadWrinkle

Active Member
Biktrix Monte 1000 $2200 free shipping. 750w/48v/30a Bafang mid drive with partial frame integration, rack ready, adjustable stem, ready for commute with tire swap out(?)
WhatsApp_Image_2017-03-08_at_4.12.16_AM_2048x2048.jpeg
 

5ebikes

New Member
checkout the Bulls Lacuba evo e45. It's got plenty of hill climbing power and the same motor as the Vado. I live on a steep hill and can maintain 15mph.
You also get real brakes on the Bulls, rather than the 180/160's on the Vado. The e45 comes with 8" rotors. Last, the battery is bigger on the e45.