Need Ebike for fun, commutes, and steep hills

penname

New Member
Region
USA
Hello all,

My wife and I are about to move to a smallish mountain city next month. We'd like to go down to just one car and get two Ebikes. My wife is already set on getting a Model Y from EBC. I'm not sure if it fits what I want for myself, though. I love the look of the Vanmoof and Wing bikes but I'm not sure if they're powerful enough for the hilly terrain. The only Ebike I have ridden is my in-laws Rad Minis (which I loved, but I know they have some naysayers in this forum). Here are some of my thoughts:

1. Mainly will be riding on the town's trail system which is a mix of asphalt (with some pretty gnarly cracks) and hard packed dirt. Not planning on using it like a mountain bike, but will be on dirt trails occasionally. Also snowy/icy surfaces in the winter.

2. Need to be able to commute to my job which is about 14 miles round-trip, and small errands like grabbing food.

3. Needs to be able to get up steep hills easily

4. As I mentioned above, I've ridden a Rad Mini, which is awesome, but I would like something a little more maneuverable.

5. I would like something that looks nice. I'm not a huge fan of the Rad looks. The Wing and Vanmoof obviously look awesome, but not sure if the motors are strong enough for the hills.

6. I'm a 6'4 man, so need something that fits a tall person.

7. Locally, there is a place that works on Rad Bikes (I only know this because my in-laws have had their bikes serviced there). But I haven't been able to explore around more to see if there are LBSs that sell/service other brands.

8. I'd like to keep the budget to around $2000 but can go higher if needed.

So far I've thought about a RadCity, RadRover, RadRunner Plus, Vanmoof S3 and Wing Freedom 2 or X. But I'd love to hear if there is something else out there that could fit the bill.

Thanks for any help!
 

reed scott

Well-Known Member

They have a forum page here that can be found under the 'Brands' section.
 

Johnny

Well-Known Member
Hello all,

My wife and I are about to move to a smallish mountain city next month. We'd like to go down to just one car and get two Ebikes. My wife is already set on getting a Model Y from EBC. I'm not sure if it fits what I want for myself, though. I love the look of the Vanmoof and Wing bikes but I'm not sure if they're powerful enough for the hilly terrain. The only Ebike I have ridden is my in-laws Rad Minis (which I loved, but I know they have some naysayers in this forum). Here are some of my thoughts:

1. Mainly will be riding on the town's trail system which is a mix of asphalt (with some pretty gnarly cracks) and hard packed dirt. Not planning on using it like a mountain bike, but will be on dirt trails occasionally. Also snowy/icy surfaces in the winter.

2. Need to be able to commute to my job which is about 14 miles round-trip, and small errands like grabbing food.

3. Needs to be able to get up steep hills easily

4. As I mentioned above, I've ridden a Rad Mini, which is awesome, but I would like something a little more maneuverable.

5. I would like something that looks nice. I'm not a huge fan of the Rad looks. The Wing and Vanmoof obviously look awesome, but not sure if the motors are strong enough for the hills.

6. I'm a 6'4 man, so need something that fits a tall person.

7. Locally, there is a place that works on Rad Bikes (I only know this because my in-laws have had their bikes serviced there). But I haven't been able to explore around more to see if there are LBSs that sell/service other brands.

8. I'd like to keep the budget to around $2000 but can go higher if needed.

So far I've thought about a RadCity, RadRover, RadRunner Plus, Vanmoof S3 and Wing Freedom 2 or X. But I'd love to hear if there is something else out there that could fit the bill.

Thanks for any help!

For short trips and steep hills I would look at something like this.

https://www.rei.com/product/172495/co-op-cycles-cty-e21-electric-bike

REI has very nice offerings some like the one above, should fit your budget.
 

penname

New Member
Region
USA
For short trips and steep hills I would look at something like this.

https://www.rei.com/product/172495/co-op-cycles-cty-e21-electric-bike

REI has very nice offerings some like the one above, should fit your budget.

I was looking at that bike earlier and actually really like it. I was worried about the 250W motor. The Rad Mini I rode had a 750W motor and, although it made it up every hill, seemed to have to work hard at a couple of points. I'm worried a 250W motor might not make it.
 

Johnny

Well-Known Member
I was looking at that bike earlier and actually really like it. I was worried about the 250W motor. The Rad Mini I rode had a 750W motor and, although it made it up every hill, seemed to have to work hard at a couple of points. I'm worried a 250W motor might not make it.

Actually it is probably going to be easier on the hills since it is a mid drive so you can go for a larger cog and decrease your speed while keeping a high enough cadence for maximum support. The only thing you may want to change is the cassette to a wide range one if the hills feel too steep.

Don't worry about the power rating of rad, that is misleading but don't want to open a can of worms here.

Take the REI one for a ride to the steepest hill you want to climb if possible.
 

Dewey

Well-Known Member
I was looking at that bike earlier and actually really like it. I was worried about the 250W motor. The Rad Mini I rode had a 750W motor and, although it made it up every hill, seemed to have to work hard at a couple of points. I'm worried a 250W motor might not make it.
Try the e2.2 model that has a motor half again more powerful than the e2.1
 

indianajo

Well-Known Member
For
For short trips and steep hills I would look at something like this.
https://www.rei.com/product/172495/co-op-cycles-cty-e21-electric-bike
the REI bike has all the disadvantages of mid drive, without high torque. 250 W 40 nm. From the picture the lowest sprocket is maybe 32 teeth? So no torque multiplication in the sprockers. By disadvantages, I mean mid drives wear out chains at an accelerated rate. At least the Shimano steps can be pedaled home if the battery runs out or there is another electrical fault. Majority sales leader bosch mid-drive, not, it drags unpowered.
How much weight will the bike be expected to carry? What is the maximum grade? Steep is a relative term. I measured my "steep" at 7/8" rise on a 6" K-mart level, or 14.6%. What is the overall rise of your commute? Look at google maps. 1000' rise in a 14 mile commute, you have to buy a mid drive. Half that rise or less, a lower cost geared hub motor will do. One that doesn't eat chains. I'm using a 500 W geared hub motor over 77 hills up to 15% and 200' rise in 30 miles, with gross weight less bike 250 lb. My bike + panniers + tools +water setup is 94 lb, for 340 lb gross.
You'll need a large size frame, anyway. If not going over 20 mph often, you can get away without a suspension.
Look at the known problems of each brand on the brand forums below. Rad has racked up 33 pages of complaints about stretched spokes, fractured rims, other. People love them, that don't ride that much.
Short problems list brands are trek gazelle & pedego (expensive) surface & bulls. The latter two may not have enough market share to have an impact on this forum. VanMoof has only 8 entries on complaints, something about a rattle. The only vanmoof court has reviewed is a electrified 3 with a 250W front geared hub motor & only a 2 speed rear IGH. Not suitable IMHO for mountains or even steep hills. Wing hasn't achieved a brand forum yet.
Personally the pavement is bad enough around here I wouldn't consider a 20" tire bike. Small wheels accentuate the jolts. 26"x2.1" is what I ride, but I'm short. A tall person can ride 700 mm or 29" tires and smooth out the bumps even more.
 
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reed scott

Well-Known Member
I was looking at that bike earlier and actually really like it. I was worried about the 250W motor. The Rad Mini I rode had a 750W motor and, although it made it up every hill, seemed to have to work hard at a couple of points. I'm worried a 250W motor might not make it.
It won't. Try to test ride a 1000 watt motor with a throttle some time. Just because you have a throttle does not mean you have to use it. I only occasionally use my throttle but it has saved me from dumping my bike in a creek filled with nasty rocks and can get you away from a charging dog immediately.
 

Johnny

Well-Known Member
Try the e2.2 model that has a motor half again more powerful than the e2.1
Yeah that one is better but his budget constraint was 2k so 2.2 may be a bit over his budget. If he can the additional $400 will get him a larger battery and a stronger motor hence worth it.

From the picture the lowest sprocket is maybe 32 teeth? By disadvantages, I mean it wear out chains at an accelerated rate.

You know that I like both systems. I already mentioned that he may want to change the cassette to a wider one if necessary. 11-46 9 speed cassettes are $35-40 and is a good upgrade for these bikes.

* As pointed out, 46T may not be officially supported with the supplied derailleur, so asking around before trying to fit a larger would be the best.
 
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Dewey

Well-Known Member
his budget constraint was 2k so 2.2 may be a bit over his budget.
If the OP joins REI as a member he would get a 10% annual dividend in January next year he could take in cash, that would work out to $240 off the msrp. If he also took out an REI credit card I think he could get another 5% discount at the point of sale. I don’t know what his state sales tax would be but it would at least be some discount
 

Johnny

Well-Known Member
If the OP joins REI as a member he would get a 10% annual dividend in January next year he could take in cash, that would work out to $240 off the msrp. If he also took out an REI credit card I think he could get another 5% discount at the point of sale.
Well then 2.2 it is. I also like the convenience of REI.
 

Dewey

Well-Known Member
Looking at the REI site again it seems the Large size is out of stock in both CTY models so the search continues.

The Yamaha CrossCore in Large would be a good choice for climbing hills as the Yamaha PW motor is rated at 70nm torque. OP did say he was willing to spend more and $2400 is a reasonable price for a capable high quality motor and 500wh battery. Weighing under 50lb it’s lightweight for an ebike and would be fun to ride. The frame has rack and fender bosses, Yamaha sell them as accessories although their rack + light combo seems expensive, bolt on a set of Planet Bike fenders, a rack, and a rear blinkie and you’re good to go.
 
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penname

New Member
Region
USA
Looking at the REI site again it seems the Large size is out of stock in both CTY models so the search continues.

The Yamaha CrossCore in Large would be a good choice for climbing hills as the Yamaha PW motor is rated at 70nm torque. OP did say he was willing to spend more and $2400 is a reasonable price for a capable high quality motor and 500wh battery. Weighing under 50lb it’s lightweight for an ebike and would be fun to ride. The frame has rack and fender bosses, Yamaha sell them as accessories although their rack + light combo seems expensive, bolt on a set of Planet Bike fenders, a rack, and a rear blinkie and you’re good to go.
Ohh, I really like this bike. Definitely pushing the budget when factoring in accessories, but I’m putting it on my shortlist. Love the look and weight. Would this handle dirt trails okay?
 

penname

New Member
Region
USA
If the OP joins REI as a member he would get a 10% annual dividend in January next year he could take in cash, that would work out to $240 off the msrp. If he also took out an REI credit card I think he could get another 5% discount at the point of sale. I don’t know what his state sales tax would be but it would at least be some discount
Yes this would be within my budget. There is an REI in my area too so I could test ride if they ever come back in stock. I do like supporting REI, they’re a good company.
 

Dewey

Well-Known Member
Yes this would be within my budget. There is an REI in my area too so I could test ride if they ever come back in stock. I do like supporting REI, they’re a good company.
Yes, I sent REI messages through the REI Conversations forum for Co-Op members, there is a link at the top of the REI website, just a nudge every couple of months, it took 6 months for them to restock the CTY ebikes last time. I was not the only one, and I think REI can use more feedback to gauge to level of demand. It's not surprising as the Co-Op CTY Ebikes are some of the most affordable quality brand name mid-drive ebikes on the market in the US
 

Dewey

Well-Known Member
Ohh, I really like this bike. Definitely pushing the budget when factoring in accessories, but I’m putting it on my shortlist. Love the look and weight. Would this handle dirt trails okay?
You might want to swap out the CrossConnect's road tires for a pair of gravel tires like the Maxxis Speed Terraine 700 x 33c TR EXO that are fitted to the Yamaha Wabash model. Because you plan to ride in winter I'd also suggest you buy a pair of studded tires like the Schwalbe Marathon Winter Plus in size 700x35c to swap out when the snow/ice is on the ground.
 
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EMGX

Well-Known Member
I already mentioned that he may want to change the cassette to a wider one if necessary. 11-46 9 speed cassettes are $35-40 and is a good upgrade for these bikes.
Not all derailleurs are compatible with larger cassette cogs. The largest cog compatible with the Shimano 105 on my gravel bike was 32t. On another bike I used a hanger extension so the SRAM (also had 32t max) could handle a 44t cog but I wouldn't want to have to rig that for a new bike.
 

Johnny

Well-Known Member
Not all derailleurs are compatible with larger cassette cogs. The largest cog compatible with the Shimano 105 on my gravel bike was 32t. On another bike I used a hanger extension so the SRAM (also had 32t max) could handle a 44t cog but I wouldn't want to have to rig that for a new bike.
105 is a 2x road set, so it doesn't take a wide cassette.

There is alivio on the bike that is mentioned. There are already people who went 11-46 on that derailleur but I don' know if it is a different version. In any case 11-42T should be doable on that one without a problem. Checking it before the purchase would be preferable.


Ohh, I really like this bike. Definitely pushing the budget when factoring in accessories, but I’m putting it on my shortlist. Love the look and weight. Would this handle dirt trails okay?
It will be fine on gravel especially with bit wider tires but It is not the ideal bike for dirt trails, if that is your intention you should look for a different bike.
 

EMGX

Well-Known Member
105 is a 2x road set, so it doesn't take a wide cassette.

There is alivio on the bike that is mentioned. There are already people who went 11-46 on that derailleur but I don' know if it is a different version. In any case 11-42T should be doable on that one without a problem.
Low sprocket_Max.36T