Need Advice on Buying an Ebike

LSS

New Member
I am interested in electric bikes and have a few questions that despite much web-surfing, don’t have good answers to. There are several dealers in my area, and I plan to visit them, but want to go prepared with some knowledge.

My first question is size – when buying a regular bike, we spend a lot of time sizing a bike to fit us, but that doesn’t seem to be discussed much for electric bikes? I am 5’-2” weigh 101 lbs, and am finding that most of the ebikes seem to be sized for much larger people. I have a bike that I love (Rivendell Sam Hillborne), which fits me perfectly and is a very comfortable ride, but I want to be able to go farther with help getting back when I go too far and run out of steam. That said, I am open to either a new electric bike or a conversion for my Hillborne. Following are my requirements:

· Primarily recreational riding, on streets, bike paths, occasionally on dirt paths.

· Will use for errands (groceries, etc), and hauling art supplies to painting locations.

· Good hill climbing ability – I live in coastal MA but occasionally ride in mountains of NH.

· Want pedal assist + full throttle capabilities.

· Speed is not terribly important – I normally cycle in the 10 – 15 mph range.

· Length of ride – 10 to 30 miles (would probably do longer rides with help from electric!)

Another concern I have is what happens 3 to 5 years from now when the battery or parts need to be replaced (especially with the type of ebike where the battery is nicely incorporated into the frame)? If an exact replacement battery is not available what then?

Thanks very much for any advice you can give – this website is great, with intelligent and information-packed reviews!
 

Brambor

Well-Known Member
There are plenty bikes for you but I have been rocking this BionX urge for a few months so I'll chime in with that. If you really love your Rivendell then I would get a second one and put a BionX D500 on it. This will satisfy all of your bullet points including the last question of what to do 3 to 5 years from now - worst case scenario you will take the battery off and swap the rear wheel with the original wheel and you are get a fully functioning Rivendell back. Best case scenario you will be proficient with installing BionX so you will either buy a new, compatible BionX Battery or replace your BionX system with an upgraded model.
 

stevenast

Well-Known Member
I am interested in electric bikes and have a few questions that despite much web-surfing, don’t have good answers to. There are several dealers in my area, and I plan to visit them, but want to go prepared with some knowledge.

My first question is size – when buying a regular bike, we spend a lot of time sizing a bike to fit us, but that doesn’t seem to be discussed much for electric bikes? I am 5’-2” weigh 101 lbs, and am finding that most of the ebikes seem to be sized for much larger people. I have a bike that I love (Rivendell Sam Hillborne), which fits me perfectly and is a very comfortable ride, but I want to be able to go farther with help getting back when I go too far and run out of steam. That said, I am open to either a new electric bike or a conversion for my Hillborne. Following are my requirements:

· Primarily recreational riding, on streets, bike paths, occasionally on dirt paths.

· Will use for errands (groceries, etc), and hauling art supplies to painting locations.

· Good hill climbing ability – I live in coastal MA but occasionally ride in mountains of NH.

· Want pedal assist + full throttle capabilities.

· Speed is not terribly important – I normally cycle in the 10 – 15 mph range.

· Length of ride – 10 to 30 miles (would probably do longer rides with help from electric!)

Another concern I have is what happens 3 to 5 years from now when the battery or parts need to be replaced (especially with the type of ebike where the battery is nicely incorporated into the frame)? If an exact replacement battery is not available what then?

Thanks very much for any advice you can give – this website is great, with intelligent and information-packed reviews!

I think you are totally correct to be concerned about frame size. The e-bike I bought comes in four sizes. A real bike has to fit.

The problem the small e-bike makers face is they have such a low production run they can't afford to deal with frame size ...they just make a medium and hope for the best.

Forum member @PowerMe is close to your height, and researched for quite a while before getting her Evo Street. Be sure to hear from her.

More later, welcome!
 

PowerMe

Well-Known Member
You have a Rivendell bike... ahhhh... nice! That bike has a steel fork and would be a candidate for a conversion. I know nothing about conversions though.

Yes, I am about your height (not close to your weight though, ahem) and I did a lot of research over 6 months before purchasing.

I realized I needed:

- a step-thru frame
- smaller wheels (no larger than 26" wheels instead of bikes with 700C size tires)
- an upright riding position due to neck/back issues

In terms of drive type, I also realized I would be best served right now with

- a geared rear hub
- both pedal assist AND throttle (power on demand)

and as for wants:

- city style bike to include fenders and rack
- as stealth as I could get given everything else I needed
- integrated battery in the frame or mounted low, with no less than 12ah, 36volts power
- range over 25 mi with 1 charge


I didn't test ride many bikes as there are no dealers near me, but I figured out pretty quickly that Easy Motion EVO line would be best for me and specifically their 2015 Street model, which met all my requirements and with a frame that fit me well. It's a very nice bike. It's the one in my avatar and I also have been detailing my experiences with the bike on a thread located in the Easy Motion section of the community threads.

Good luck!
 

DWEBiker

Active Member
I am interested in electric bikes and have a few questions that despite much web-surfing, don’t have good answers to. There are several dealers in my area, and I plan to visit them, but want to go prepared with some knowledge.

My first question is size – when buying a regular bike, we spend a lot of time sizing a bike to fit us, but that doesn’t seem to be discussed much for electric bikes? I am 5’-2” weigh 101 lbs, and am finding that most of the ebikes seem to be sized for much larger people. I have a bike that I love (Rivendell Sam Hillborne), which fits me perfectly and is a very comfortable ride, but I want to be able to go farther with help getting back when I go too far and run out of steam. That said, I am open to either a new electric bike or a conversion for my Hillborne. Following are my requirements:

· Primarily recreational riding, on streets, bike paths, occasionally on dirt paths.

· Will use for errands (groceries, etc), and hauling art supplies to painting locations.

· Good hill climbing ability – I live in coastal MA but occasionally ride in mountains of NH.

· Want pedal assist + full throttle capabilities.

· Speed is not terribly important – I normally cycle in the 10 – 15 mph range.

· Length of ride – 10 to 30 miles (would probably do longer rides with help from electric!)

Another concern I have is what happens 3 to 5 years from now when the battery or parts need to be replaced (especially with the type of ebike where the battery is nicely incorporated into the frame)? If an exact replacement battery is not available what then?

Thanks very much for any advice you can give – this website is great, with intelligent and information-packed reviews!
What is your budget for a kit or new bike?
 

stevenast

Well-Known Member
Another concern I have is what happens 3 to 5 years from now when the battery or parts need to be replaced (especially with the type of ebike where the battery is nicely incorporated into the frame)? If an exact replacement battery is not available what then?

As far as getting exact replacement parts, specifically for the electrical areas of your bike: motor, controller, battery - that's a good reason to deal with a company that you feel certain will still be there and offering support.

That said, the rest of the bike parts: wheels, spokes, tires, brakes, etc etc should be able to be repaired or replaced by a regular bike shop.
 

LSS

New Member
There are plenty bikes for you but I have been rocking this BionX urge for a few months so I'll chime in with that. If you really love your Rivendell then I would get a second one and put a BionX D500 on it. This will satisfy all of your bullet points including the last question of what to do 3 to 5 years from now - worst case scenario you will take the battery off and swap the rear wheel with the original wheel and you are get a fully functioning Rivendell back. Best case scenario you will be proficient with installing BionX so you will either buy a new, compatible BionX Battery or replace your BionX system with an upgraded model.

Thanks for all the replies! Not quite sure how this works, but want to respond to everybody who wrote.
Brambor, I looked at the BionX D500 and it looks pretty sweet - and as you say, I get to keep my beloved Rivendell. Was curious though why you said "If you really love your Rivendell then I would get a second one and puta BionX D500 on it" - why buy a second Rivendell? The BionX is a good suggestion and sure looks like it would meet all my requirements (though a bit pricy!)
 

LSS

New Member
You have a Rivendell bike... ahhhh... nice! That bike has a steel fork and would be a candidate for a conversion. I know nothing about conversions though.

Yes, I am about your height (not close to your weight though, ahem) and I did a lot of research over 6 months before purchasing.

I realized I needed:

- a step-thru frame
- smaller wheels (no larger than 26" wheels instead of bikes with 700C size tires)
- an upright riding position due to neck/back issues

In terms of drive type, I also realized I would be best served right now with

- a geared rear hub
- both pedal assist AND throttle (power on demand)

and as for wants:

- city style bike to include fenders and rack
- as stealth as I could get given everything else I needed
- integrated battery in the frame or mounted low, with no less than 12ah, 36volts power
- range over 25 mi with 1 charge


I didn't test ride many bikes as there are no dealers near me, but I figured out pretty quickly that Easy Motion EVO line would be best for me and specifically their 2015 Street model, which met all my requirements and with a frame that fit me well. It's a very nice bike. It's the one in my avatar and I also have been detailing my experiences with the bike on a thread located in the Easy Motion section of the community threads.

Good luck!


Thanks PowerMe, I will definitely put the Easy Motion Street on my list to try, fortunately we have a dealer nearby who carries Easy Motion bikes (according to their website). What was it about the geared rear hub that made it a priority for you?
 

Brambor

Well-Known Member
Because You will miss/need to ride your Rivendell as it was originally intended to.

;-)



Thanks for all the replies! Not quite sure how this works, but want to respond to everybody who wrote.
Brambor, I looked at the BionX D500 and it looks pretty sweet - and as you say, I get to keep my beloved Rivendell. Was curious though why you said "If you really love your Rivendell then I would get a second one and puta BionX D500 on it" - why buy a second Rivendell? The BionX is a good suggestion and sure looks like it would meet all my requirements (though a bit pricy!)
 

DWEBiker

Active Member
With that budget you could get a really nice kit bike already put together and no worries about propietary battery/ motor systems down the road.
For example ----

Ask them to put some road tires on it if possible since you will be on road mostly.
This bike is available in a small frame 17"
 

LSS

New Member
Because You will miss/need to ride your Rivendell as it was originally intended to.

;-)

That may be so, but I'm afraid it is not within my budget to own two Rivendells and a Bionx!

Another question for you is why did you say get the BionX D500 instead of one of the 350 models? I must say, I am a bit confused by the number of models labeled 350, and what the differences are between them.
 

Noreen

Member
Hello LSS. I also live in MA, and we are lucky to have so many dealers within reasonable driving distance. I was able to test ride several bikes before deciding on the Stromer ST1 - but it does not have a throttle.
I first looked at a conversion kit for my recumbent, and decided that wasn't going to work for me - it was too obvious. I ended up selling my recumbent primarily because I was never that comfortable on it anyway. But, if I had a bike I loved, and was not going to ride in the winter, I may have gone that route (I have a non-electric Tout Terrain Metropolitan for winter riding).

Feel free to message me and I can give you the names of the shops I checked out for both purpose built and conversions.
 

PowerMe

Well-Known Member
Those numbers are likely saying what watts the motor puts out. 350 = 350 watts, 500 = 500 watts.
 

LSS

New Member
Hello LSS. I also live in MA, and we are lucky to have so many dealers within reasonable driving distance. I was able to test ride several bikes before deciding on the Stromer ST1 - but it does not have a throttle.
I first looked at a conversion kit for my recumbent, and decided that wasn't going to work for me - it was too obvious. I ended up selling my recumbent primarily because I was never that comfortable on it anyway. But, if I had a bike I loved, and was not going to ride in the winter, I may have gone that route (I have a non-electric Tout Terrain Metropolitan for winter riding).

Feel free to message me and I can give you the names of the shops I checked out for both purpose built and conversions.

Hi Noreen, I have read about the Stromer - what did you like about it that made it your choice? Funny, I also have a recumbent - a Bachetta Giro, which I will probably sell to help pay for the ebike or conversion (also, too many toys!) I really like the recumbent, but find it a bit awkward to ride in congested areas, so didn't consider electrifying it.

Would be interested in knowing what shops you went to.
 

LSS

New Member
Those numbers are likely saying what watts the motor puts out. 350 = 350 watts, 500 = 500 watts.

OK, but they offer an S350 DX, S350 DL, and S350 DV, in addition to S350 RX and S350 RL( I have figured out that the R models have the battery mount on a rear rack), but not yet sure of the differences in the D's.
 

Brambor

Well-Known Member
Because you wished for good hill climbing ability.



That may be so, but I'm afraid it is not within my budget to own two Rivendells and a Bionx!

Another question for you is why did you say get the BionX D500 instead of one of the 350 models? I must say, I am a bit confused by the number of models labeled 350, and what the differences are between them.
 

Marty

Member
It does not take a lot of power to climb a hill unless you don't help with the pedals. I have a 180 watt hub motor bike that would surprise you.
 

LSS

New Member
I wanted to give an update on my electric bike search.

I had pretty much decided that the way to go was with a conversion rather than a new electric bike, mostly due to the fact that I already have a bike which is lightweight, fits me beautifully and is a pleasure to ride (Rivendell Sam Hillborne). I visited my local dealer and test rode bikes with the Bionx conversion. I tried bikes with the 500 and 350 watt motors, and decided that given my weight and typical riding conditions, the 350 worked fine for me. Since my reason for going electric is to extend my cycling range, I went with the medium size battery which offers a 50 - 75 mile range.

After picking up my converted bike, at first I was kind of thinking, oh, what have I done to my beautiful lightweight bike, but this weekend I had an opportunity to give it a good test in the Mt Washington Valley (White Mountains area) of New Hampshire, and am happy to report that I absolutely love the way the bike performed. I rode up and down many fairly steep hills, and with even only a level 2 assist the bike fairly zoomed up the hills. It gave me the confidence to ride farther without concern for terrain because I knew I could handle it. I am a definite convert to the joys of e-bike riding, and am looking forward to all the places I can explore.

Thanks very much to all in this community who gave me comments and advice and also to Electric Bikes of New England in Londonderry, NH for their patience and great service!