Low-maintenance commuter e-bike for tall, heavy rider

gnabgib

New Member
Region
USA
I'm looking to buy my first e-bike. I'm 6'3" and 200 lbs and looking for a low-maintenance commuter e-bike. I'm moving up to Long Island for a new job and will be switching from using an urban bike share system to having my own bike and would like to have something that's fast and will get me to work not too sweaty. I'm pretty flexible in terms of price and am looking at bikes as cheap as $1100 and as expensive as $4k. I don't expect to have to tackle any particularly steep hills on Long Island and I don't plan to take the bike off-road much, but I think the road quality on some of my likely routes is not great. I'm not totally sure how much range I will need yet, since I haven't figured out exactly where I'll be living.

No one feature is necessarily a deal-breaker, but nice-to-have features include, in roughly declining order of importance:

Integrated lights that are reasonably bright.

Class 3 capabiilies.

Frame-integrated battery.

Belt drive.

Fenders/rear rack (I know I can add these pretty easily).

Mid-drive.

Front suspension (I might be fine just adding as suspension seatpost).

Options that I'm consider include, in not particular order.

Ride1Up Roadster V2 (not class 3, no lights/suspension/rack/fenders)

Ride1Up 700 series (maybe too small, maybe high maintenance)

Luna Fixed Stealth Ebike (not class 3, no lights/suspension/rack/fenders)

Priority Current (no suspension)

Dost CVT

A few Gazelle models

Specialized Turbo Vado

Lectrek Xpremium (maybe high maintenance, maybe too small)

Aventon Level (no integrated lights, maybe high maintenance)

I'm very much open to other options.
 

sc00ter

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Norfolk, VA
The DOST CVT, both models, are still on backorder.
The Specialized are nice, and local for test rides.
Those are 2 that I also considered.
A throttle is a must for a commuter in my humble opinion.
Belt drives are nice.
I also like IGHs.
Let us know what you settle on.
 

gnabgib

New Member
Region
USA
The DOST CVT, both models, are still on backorder.
The Specialized are nice, and local for test rides.
Those are 2 that I also considered.
A throttle is a must for a commuter in my humble opinion.
Belt drives are nice.
I also like IGHs.
Let us know what you settle on.
Thanks! I should not that I'm willing to wait for a backorder if I'm convinced it's for the right bike.

Why do I need a throttle? I see lots of comments on this forum to the effect that throttles are essential, and I don't really get it.
 

AHicks

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Snow Bird - Summer S.E. Michigan, Winter Gulf Coast North Central Fl.
Thanks! I should not that I'm willing to wait for a backorder if I'm convinced it's for the right bike.

Why do I need a throttle? I see lots of comments on this forum to the effect that throttles are essential, and I don't really get it.
You don't HAVE to have a throttle. Consider it a desirable feature. Kinda like an automatic transmission, power windows, delayed wipers, power seats, and cruise control in your car/truck. That vehicle would be perfectly capable without those features, but after driving it for a while with, I'd be surprised if your next one didn't have them as well.

With the older crowd, say over 60, the throttle is very popular for launching the bike from a stop while you collect your balance. You're using it for 3-6' while collecting your balance. That's it! Nice especially when launching up hill too! The other place where it's darn nice to have one is for crossing a busy road. You don't HAVE to have one, but....

I like the belt drive and geared hub plan as well. Can't stop looking at this one. The issue is they've been putting off delivery a month at a time for several months now, so there is no firm delivery date. I'm not sure they've even been built yet!
 
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indianajo

Well-Known Member
Why do I need a throttle? I see lots of comments on this forum to the effect that throttles are essential, and I don't really get it.
A stick gets jammed in your derailleur takeup. It was garbage day, homeowners pile sticks on the bike path. A grass stem or string gets wound around the sprocket cluster. It won't stay in any gear. You're in your work clothes. You really want to lay on the ground, take a screwdriver and pry this stuff out? Or stop pedaling, let your hub motor drag you home. AT my age & service history, one misstep can twist my knee and make it unuseable for weeks. Main reason I bought an ebike, cabs can't find my summer property and an electric wheelchair can't handle the ditches that line all the roads. Electric wheelchairs won't go 30 miles, either. Actually this spring I sprained my foot pushing too hard into a 40 mph wind and had to use the throttle a lot for a month until it healed. Metatarsal popped right off the cuboid I pushed so hard.
OTOH the commuter crowd tends to go with bosch or bafang mid drives, and put up with the repeated chain maintenance. You get support with a bosch. My nearest bosch support is 160 miles away, or a $400 u-haul trip if they finish service in one day, and $800 if I have to go twice. I can buy a replacement hub motor in wheel for $35 (used) or $300 (new) mailed to my box. I keep a spare in the garage, so there is zero waiting for parts time. Just the changeover time. I've had ebikeling, mac, & bafang geared hub motors & a nameless DD 1000 W hub. Only the mac had a weird controller (ASI), the rest were pretty standard.
There are at least 2 grades of parts on ebikes. Wheel rims, spokes, cables, sprocket clusters, shifters, can be made of imitation metal or the real thing. Brand & country of origin is not the only discriminator. Shimano makes **** for $200 kiddie bikes ridden about 4 times, and real steel parts for real bikes. Look at the count of known problems on the brand forums. Divide by market share (a secret). Real bike brands, Trek, Gazelle, Reiss & Mueller, Giant, Kona, Yamaha. Lots of Specialized fans here but they have shipped some frames that cracked, which puts them on my death list. I have a Yuba which was real, but they only sell cargo bikes. I like hub motors, but the plastic gears are ~5000 miles items, keep a spare power wheel in stock. Bosch & bafang mids will last longer, but you'll change a lot of chains or pay the shop to do it. 10 speed up chains last a lot shorter on mids than 8 speeds or lower because the 8 speeds have wider bearings. Belt drives claim about a 10000 mile life but they can be bent by a stick or foreign object between belt & pulley.
 
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TrevorB

Active Member
IGH with belt drive or enclosed chain does make for low maintenance commuter but does greatly limit your choices. Derailleurs and chains aren't terrible to maintain, wipe a lube every 1-2 weeks and degrease every couple months. With dry lube you can skip the degrease but they need applying every 50-100kms and are only suitable for dry conditions, odd day of rain is ok with relube.
10-11spds chains on midrive will last 3000-3500kms with new cassette and chainring every 2-3 chains. 30,000kms on middrives with lot of drive train abuse on the eMTB and not one broken chain or derailleur. Don't buy throttle for what if situation but because you like it.
 

Neverlost99

Member
Dost looks great, cadence sensor is odd at that price point. I wish the LBS had this line. For this and complexity local service is a must. If you don’t wrench it could get complicated.wouldn’t you include Zen as an option. These look very promising
 
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PSm

Active Member
Region
USA
After you've tried a bike with a carbon belt, it's difficult to go back to a chain. They're so quiet, smooth, and you don't have the same risk of a chain slipping off the chainring (which happened to me once, just after getting into an intersection after hitting a bump, and my throttle saved me from being stuck with cars all around... and happened to me other times, but not in an intersection).

A lot depends on your needs, preference, commute distance and roads. For me, getting a suspension seat post and better handlebar grips are enough to dampen out the roads. For others, wide tires that are slightly under inflated provide additional cushioning. And still others need full suspension.

But for me, the Ride1up Roadster v2 with extended battery (all in price, after getting new tires, rear rack, saddle bag, kickstand, lights and GPS computer, still well under $2000) has been a fantastic ride, and my other geared, chained, heavier ebikes with throttle just sit now gathering dust. And just getting the base model for $1100 is IMHO a screaming deal and value. Have 4000+ miles on mine with only minor maintenance (after some initial adjustments), except for the usual wear items like for any bike and any brand ... flat tires, new tubes and tires, some spokes replaced.

But for you, who knows. Maybe Priority Current? Or Aventon Soltera single speed, as inexpensive options. Less maintenance, in each of those cases. You have a lot of options, and every one has pros and cons.
 
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m@Robertson

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
You don't want integrated lights. Especially on a bike you depend on every day. If I break a light bolted onto a bike, I put on another one. Usually within minutes off of another bike, and then I order a replacement on Amazon. Break a light integrated into a bike (I am thinking like those on Van Moofs) and you have to source a replacement from the manufacturer. Which may or may not be a giant PITA, but at best its going to take awhile. And you have to be on the road tomorrow morning.

You want lights readily available on Amazon or similar. There's plenty of quality out there. I just bought my second one of these. I add a beam cutoff to them with a bit of fence hardware and some Lexel to attach it to the top.


They are wired into my display. And yes they are overkill. Lots of other options.


As for throttles, consider it another tool in your toolbox. You'll find ways to use it I promise you. For me, just yesterday I decided I needed a break riding from the office in 104 degree heat. Even assisted, riding in that weather can be quite taxing. So I throttled it for a block or two. Or here's a common one: I need to adjust my glasses or my rear view mirror on my helmet. I'll gently apply throttle to a safe speed, let the bike settle while I'm holding it one-handed, and fix my glasses/adjust my mirror. Sure I could stop and do it, or find some other way. But I don't have to because I have a throttle. Like I said, its just another tool in the box.

The Luna Fixed is a really light weight ebike, very refined. Only needs a few upgrades although one of those is proper sturdy wheels. But there is no free lunch in this world. Its got very little battery capacity and what is there is not particularly powerful. It peaks around 400w, and the motor is not robust. Its great for an occasional evening ride but it is absolutely not a commuter (it does have rack bosses). Thats why I sold mine. FYI I bought the bike because it had three bits of tech I wanted to try out: A Gates belt, torque sensing and an IGH. I loved (LOVED!) the belt and got along fine with the internally geared hub, but torque sensing assist just. plain. sucked.

IMG_20200604_155933 (1).jpg
 
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m@Robertson

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
Don't buy throttle for what if situation but because you like it.
I would say buy with a throttle whether you like it or not. You're not qualified to make the judgment until you have had the experience to know if you are going to use it. There is waaaaaay too much prejudice going around to take anyone else's word for anything on this subject. Analog cyclists in particular are a judgmental lot. And we like it that way :D

Besides, a bike needed for utility - one that has a job - must work and must come through for you. day in and day out. What-if is integral to making the right decision on bike and feature set.

Also, on my daily driver (11s mid drive, Bullitt cargo bike) I presently have about 1900 miles on the drivetrain as of Monday evening without issue. Chain still reads no measurable wear. Steel cluster (Sunrace CSMS7) no wear as well. I've gone past that mileage on other bikes I own. 11T alloy cogs last about 1100 miles on bikes where I use that cog at all, but thats a $7 part.
 
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gnabgib

New Member
Region
USA
You don't want integrated lights. Especially on a bike you depend on every day. If I break a light bolted onto a bike, I put on another one. Usually within minutes off of another bike, and then I order a replacement on Amazon. Break a light integrated into a bike (I am thinking like those on Van Moofs) and you have to source a replacement from the manufacturer. Which may or may not be a giant PITA, but at best its going to take awhile. And you have to be on the road tomorrow morning.

Thanks. By Integrated lights, I just meant battery-integrated, not built into the frame like VanMoof. Can you replace battery-integrated lights with 3rd party replacements?
 

Neverlost99

Member
You don't want integrated lights. Especially on a bike you depend on every day. If I break a light bolted onto a bike, I put on another one. Usually within minutes off of another bike, and then I order a replacement on Amazon. Break a light integrated into a bike (I am thinking like those on Van Moofs) and you have to source a replacement from the manufacturer. Which may or may not be a giant PITA, but at best its going to take awhile. And you have to be on the road tomorrow morning.

You want lights readily available on Amazon or similar. There's plenty of quality out there. I just bought my second one of these. I add a beam cutoff to them with a bit of fence hardware and some Lexel to attach it to the top.


They are wired into my display. And yes they are overkill. Lots of other options.


As for throttles, consider it another tool in your toolbox. You'll find ways to use it I promise you. For me, just yesterday I decided I needed a break riding from the office in 104 degree heat. Even assisted, riding in that weather can be quite taxing. So I throttled it for a block or two. Or here's a common one: I need to adjust my glasses or my rear view mirror on my helmet. I'll gently apply throttle to a safe speed, let the bike settle while I'm holding it one-handed, and fix my glasses/adjust my mirror. Sure I could stop and do it, or find some other way. But I don't have to because I have a throttle. Like I said, its just another tool in the box.

The Luna Fixed is a really light weight ebike, very refined. Only needs a few upgrades although one of those is proper sturdy wheels. But there is no free lunch in this world. Its got very little battery capacity and what is there is not particularly powerful. It peaks around 400w, and the motor is not robust. Its great for an occasional evening ride but it is absolutely not a commuter (it does have rack bosses). Thats why I sold mine. FYI I bought the bike because it had three bits of tech I wanted to try out: A Gates belt, torque sensing and an IGH. I loved (LOVED!) the belt and got along fine with the internally geared hub, but torque sensing assist just. plain. sucked.

View attachment 127522
Everyone says torque sensing is the best but my hub bike with cadence sure seems to work pretty well for me. I think that Luna you had might’ve been the perfect bike with a more powerful mid drive and a bottle battery. What was wrong with the wheels?
 

m@Robertson

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
Everyone says torque sensing is the best but my hub bike with cadence sure seems to work pretty well for me. I think that Luna you had might’ve been the perfect bike with a more powerful mid drive and a bottle battery. What was wrong with the wheels?
I'd say so. Part of the thing with that bike was its very low weight. It made inevitable compromises to keep that weight down, which meant almost no battery capacity, and 36v to boot which is never going to provide much in the way of power. Also, the Bofeili motor it uses is 'stealthy' but has an internal gear that is not amenable to a strong pedaler. On more than one occasion I stripped past its gearing. It has a clutch inside to keep from destroying it, but I have heard second-hand from owners of other bikes using that motor that you can't keep doing that without permanent damage.

As to the wheels, they simply were not particularly sturdy. Standard-issue machine-made Chinese wheels. Very narrow. I seem to remember ... 14mm inside width? Not a good choice for the 700-35C tires it comes with. I replaced with 545D's which are 21mm and a much better fit to the 700-35C tires that (barely) fit inside the rear triangle. It was a very comfortable bike to ride so long as you were taking it easy on a leisurely evening ride. But not a good commuter.
 

PSm

Active Member
Region
USA
The ad for the v2 says speeds up to 15mph??
Not based on their website, or my experience. My Roadster v2 provides PAS up to 24mph. And the base model with internal battery is 33 lbs, and it has a cadence sensor (perfectly fine for me). With external battery too, still under 40 lbs.
 

PSm

Active Member
Region
USA
I would say buy with a throttle whether you like it or not. You're not qualified to make the judgment until you have had the experience to know if you are going to use it. There is waaaaaay too much prejudice going around to take anyone else's word for anything on this subject. Analog cyclists in particular are a judgmental lot. And we like it that way :D

Besides, a bike needed for utility - one that has a job - must work and must come through for you. day in and day out. What-if is integral to making the right decision on bike and feature set.

Also, on my daily driver (11s mid drive, Bullitt cargo bike) I presently have about 1900 miles on the drivetrain as of Monday evening without issue. Chain still reads no measurable wear. Steel cluster (Sunrace CSMS7) no wear as well. I've gone past that mileage on other bikes I own. 11T alloy cogs last about 1100 miles on bikes where I use that cog at all, but thats a $7 part.
Yeah, most commuters would be best served by a bike with a throttle.

Nevertheless, I'm over 4000 miles on Roadster, and carbon belt still looks great, and do regular 30-40 mile rides every week, with 50-60 mile rides on the weekend, and some 70-90+ mile rides when hypermiling and pushing myself to the limit. But I do have the extended battery :)
 

Alaskan

Well-Known Member
I suggest you take a close look at the new Evelo Omega. It ticks pretty much all your boxes but is a bit higher priced. They are available for purchase and prompt shipment right now and there is a July 4 sale going on. They have excellent customer service, warranty and the bikes are very well made in Taiwan.


I am 6' 190lbs. Here is a photo of mine that arrived just last week (suspension seatpost and stem added with a few other mods)

omega.jpg
 

Neverlost99

Member
That’s a very nice bike but $5000 all in just seems that it’s way overpriced but then again I think all these bikes are over priced
 

AHicks

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Snow Bird - Summer S.E. Michigan, Winter Gulf Coast North Central Fl.
That’s a very nice bike but $5000 all in just seems that it’s way overpriced but then again I think all these bikes are over priced
That bike has 2 very expensive features not everyone is going to want to pay for. Clearly it has a belt drive, never a cheap option. 2nd though, is a fully automatic transmission.....