need ebike for urban hauling of lots of kit, often with a trailer (London, occasional hill)

chasg

Member
Hi All,

Like many here, I've done a ton of research for the past few months, and I'm still no closer to being able to choose, or even dramatically narrow down a choice of, an ebike for my particular needs. So, I'm hoping that the community here can offer some suggestions!

tl;dr I need an ebike that can haul my heavy and bulky kit (using a specific trailer: Burley Coho XC), around London.

I'm a photographer who lives and works (mostly) in London, UK. I shoot portraits, products and timelapse, and I frequently travel to clients or landscape locations with lots of kit, which is quite heavy and bulky. Before the pandemic, I'd either travel on public transport (big rolling equipment bag plus two tripod bags, 50Kg total or so), or hire a taxi (bigger shoots, with more kit than I can carry: 200Kg or more). But since the pandemic, I've been restricted to biking (non-ebike). At first I was cycling with a large camera backpack on to which I strapped tripods/lighting stands, but it tended to weigh 30-40Kg, and was really tough to cycle with (esp on my backside!). So I picked up a Burley Coho XC trailer (nice and narrow for those busy London streets). On my first trailer test ride, I had an accident (not trailer related), and my bike was a write off. So, I need to replace it, and an ebike seems ideal to deal with all the weight.

My needs:
1) power: it'll need to be capable of hauling a lot of weight:
  • I am 6'2"/183cm and I weigh 120Kg
  • the trailer will almost always be loaded up to its max of 35Kg
  • I would probably still have a 20Kg or so backpack on as well (or have that 20Kg strapped to a really good bike luggage rack).
2) range: doesn't have to be too far, I can't see myself travelling more than 30Km a day when on shooting jobs (though it'd be nice to have something with lots of range, for the times I may want to go on a cycling trip out of London for fun)
3) hills: something that can deal with the occasional London hill (there are some surprisingly steep ones here, on the outskirts)
4) specific trailer: I need a bike to which I can attach the Burley Coho XC trailer that I already own, using "Burley Ballz" axle adaptors (LOL, that name!)
5) weight: light enough that I can swing it up on its rear wheel to roll it through my quite small London flat to the safety of the back garden (the twists and turns in my house prevent a bike from rolling through on two wheels).
6) budget: up to £2600, all in (so no Tern GSD, unfortunately!).

My wants (not top priority):
1) torque sensing
2) top speed: I don't need to exceed the top speed of 25 km/h for ebikes here in the UK, but it'd be nice to have a bike that can reach this speed with all the weight I'll be hauling
3) security: built-in locks, tracking tech, thief-destroying lasers etc, would be nice (but I'm willing to settle for hauling multiple locks with me)
4) mid-drive: to the best of my knowledge, a mid-drive bike would be better for hauling
5) acceleration: something that has the power to accelerate fast enough from a traffic light so that I'm not swamped by cars and other cyclists
6) difficult to steal battery: I haven't found a bike with a non-removable battery that is within my price range (and that meets all my criteria), so I'm thinking I'll need to get a bike with a removable battery. It'd be nice to have one that is tough to steal off the bike (I can take a battery with me when I arrive to a shoot location, but I'll usually already be almost at my max ability to hand-carry kit).
7) sitting position: upright would be nice
8) brakes: hydraulic disc brakes would be nice, though my bikes have always had v-brakes, so almost anything else would be an upgrade

My "I don't cares"
1) looks: I don't care, functionality is the main priority
2) folding/non-folding: if a folding bike can haul it all, then why not! (nice to have a folder for public transport for the occasions I'm not hauling kit). I found the Tern Vektron S10, but it's far too expensive for me at this time. So I'm thinking it'll likely be a non-folding bike.
3) step-through/over: I don't care about the geometry of the bike regarding how easy it is to get on/off
4) suspension: I'm not fussed about suspension, I find that front shocks add a lot of weight for not a lot of benefit in an urban environment (potholes notwithstanding), and rear shocks are kinda rare on an urban bike (but a seatpost shock absorber, that I may add myself after I get the bike)

My "I don't wants"
1) no difficult to service/proprietary bikes (e.g. while the RadRunner looks ideal for me, I'm afraid that getting Rad bikes serviced here in London is tough, not to mention getting parts). I need something with common parts from a manufacturer with a presence in the UK. Happily, I can service all parts of a normal bike, but not the electronic bits.
2) no cargo bikes with the cargo area in front of the cycling position (I can't get one of those through my house for safekeeping at night)


There are numerous bike shops in London that sell ebikes, but most of them are loyal to specific brands (they don't have a wide selection). I'm hoping to get some advice from all of you here to at least help me narrow down the choices so that I can visit a shop and do test rides and get (understandably biased :) advice from the sales people.

I'd be very grateful for any pointers that anyone can offer me towards a bike that will do what I need it to do! I know that I've dropped in a ton of criteria, if you've read it all, then I'm impressed :)

Many thanks in advance!

Chas
 

Alaskan

Well-Known Member
Methinks you neglected a very important need. Given this is your work "vehicle", upon which your ability to earn a living will depend, a reputation for a high degree of reliability as well as quick, responsive service should be near the top of your list (at least it would be on mine in the same circumstances). Combing all your needs and wants and then trying to compress all of that within your budgetary restraints reduces the options to near zero, unless you are willing to by a used bike or find a great discounted deal on one of the few bikes that has a mid drive, torque sensor, can haul a rider over 260 pounds plus a trailer with loaded with 75 pounds of gear.

A bargain bike with run of the mill components will not hold up very well to regular daily use, over cobbled streets with that kind of weight. Brakes will wear out faster, chains will require changing more often, all wear parts will need regular attention, even in the best of bikes. Hopefully you are a capable bike mechanic and can manage most of the check ups and change outs yourself.

I am not trying to discourage you but rather trying to inject a modicum of realism into your decision making. I really do think that, for what is required by your proposed use scenario, you need to consider either increasing your budget or get extraordinarily lucky in finding a good quality, late model used bike along with a local bike shop that is able and willing to help you keep it on the road.
 

Bicyclista

Active Member
Chas, I am also a professional photographer and I will offer my own experience for insight. First, my professional specialty is architecture, interiors, and real estate (I am a retired architect). For those jobs I usually drive and carry my equipment in my car. During the pandemic I photograph only vacant buildings. HOWEVER, I am also an avid bird and street photographer and I use my ebike to access wildlife and carry my kit.

Basically, I use a rear rack and two Ortlieb panniers. I tried using a Burley trailer but I disliked how it tended to overturn whenever I took a sharp turn at my normal speed. I outfitted the panniers with plenty of padding from camera backpacks. I also switched from Nikon equipment to Sony and Leica, which are much smaller. I bought the Peak Design travel tripod off their Kickstarter campaign. It is a compact, lightweight tripod fully capable of supporting my professional cameras, and it fits inside one of my panniers.

My bike is a Haibike AllMtn with mid-drive Yamaha motor, full suspension, and 3-inch wide tires on 27.5-inch rims. Full suspension is a real benefit on ebikes because of the higher achievable speeds relative to conventional bikes, and importantly, a full suspension is kinder to my kit.

I realize my bike is probably outside your budget. My basic advice is to try to find a bike that can support a sturdy rack and panniers. My Old Man Mountain rack is supported by the rear axle. I would avoid cantilever racks. Being an architect, I know how much cantilevers move up and down in a building. They move up and down a lot more in a moving vehicle!

I don't know what is available in the UK, so I cannot provide any specific recommendations except one. From your post, it appears that Tern is available. The Tern HSD P9 is within your budget (unless UK pricing is much higher than US pricing). It would meet your requirements, including the ability to store it vertically. My only caution is to try it before you buy it. I bought my girlfriend a Tern HSD S+ (the spendy model), and I found the Bosch motor a less capable climber than my 4-year-old Yamaha motor.

Good luck!
 

Dewey

Well-Known Member
I recommend you test ride a Wisper Wayfarer, several dealers around London, their design office is in Kent, and the bikes are imported from China. This is a new model and so the difficulty is getting hold of one, the owner reports he has sold 3,000 and is quoting delivery in spring 2021. Available with either hub or mid-drive motors, the mid-drive model in standard configuration plus the optional 700wh battery pack is GBP 2,549 though reportedly prices and delivery times are going to rise, and with the larger battery weighs 29kg/63lb. The mid-drive has a torque pedal assist sensor and a throttle, the hub drive has a torque sensor upgrade option. The mid-drive motor is a new one, the Wuxi TruckRun M01 the Wisper owner says it was designed by the Bafang Max design team. The motor has just started appearing here in the US on the Priority Current.
 
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chasg

Member
Methinks you neglected a very important need. Given this is your work "vehicle", upon which your ability to earn a living will depend, a reputation for a high degree of reliability as well as quick, responsive service should be near the top of your list (at least it would be on mine in the same circumstances). Combing all your needs and wants and then trying to compress all of that within your budgetary restraints reduces the options to near zero, unless you are willing to by a used bike or find a great discounted deal on one of the few bikes that has a mid drive, torque sensor, can haul a rider over 260 pounds plus a trailer with loaded with 75 pounds of gear.

A bargain bike with run of the mill components will not hold up very well to regular daily use, over cobbled streets with that kind of weight. Brakes will wear out faster, chains will require changing more often, all wear parts will need regular attention, even in the best of bikes. Hopefully you are a capable bike mechanic and can manage most of the check ups and change outs yourself.

I am not trying to discourage you but rather trying to inject a modicum of realism into your decision making. I really do think that, for what is required by your proposed use scenario, you need to consider either increasing your budget or get extraordinarily lucky in finding a good quality, late model used bike along with a local bike shop that is able and willing to help you keep it on the road.
Methinks you are right, thanks for bringing that up, I really appreciate it.

As for the "low" ceiling I quoted for my "upper" bike price, I have to admit, before researching the market, I did think I was going to spend about £1000 (as my previous bike was £750, I thought that adding a motor shouldn't be too much more, LOL!). I am becoming more aware that I'm going to have to spend more to get a bike that can be my work vehicle.

Just fyi: very few cobbled streets here in London, these days :)

I do have an eye on a used bike that a colleague has offered (not a close friend, just someone who heard through the grapevine that I was looking, so I can't get a look at the bike before a purchase). A KTM Macina Gran 8 (belt version), but the price he's offering is based on the price in the link I posted, while the retail price has dropped quite a bit at other sellers (so the used price is almost the same as some retail prices, unfortunately). Repairs are an issue as well, as I haven't found any bike shops listing KTM bikes as something they'd address (though it is a very esoteric question!). Some of this community have been very helpful in this first thread I wrote, but I did decide to write this thread and see if someone could suggest something more suitable.

Thanks very much for the contribution, I really appreciate it!
 

chasg

Member
Chas, I am also a professional photographer and I will offer my own experience for insight. First, my professional specialty is architecture, interiors, and real estate (I am a retired architect). For those jobs I usually drive and carry my equipment in my car. During the pandemic I photograph only vacant buildings. HOWEVER, I am also an avid bird and street photographer and I use my ebike to access wildlife and carry my kit.

Basically, I use a rear rack and two Ortlieb panniers. I tried using a Burley trailer but I disliked how it tended to overturn whenever I took a sharp turn at my normal speed. I outfitted the panniers with plenty of padding from camera backpacks. I also switched from Nikon equipment to Sony and Leica, which are much smaller. I bought the Peak Design travel tripod off their Kickstarter campaign. It is a compact, lightweight tripod fully capable of supporting my professional cameras, and it fits inside one of my panniers.

My bike is a Haibike AllMtn with mid-drive Yamaha motor, full suspension, and 3-inch wide tires on 27.5-inch rims. Full suspension is a real benefit on ebikes because of the higher achievable speeds relative to conventional bikes, and importantly, a full suspension is kinder to my kit.

I realize my bike is probably outside your budget. My basic advice is to try to find a bike that can support a sturdy rack and panniers. My Old Man Mountain rack is supported by the rear axle. I would avoid cantilever racks. Being an architect, I know how much cantilevers move up and down in a building. They move up and down a lot more in a moving vehicle!

I don't know what is available in the UK, so I cannot provide any specific recommendations except one. From your post, it appears that Tern is available. The Tern HSD P9 is within your budget (unless UK pricing is much higher than US pricing). It would meet your requirements, including the ability to store it vertically. My only caution is to try it before you buy it. I bought my girlfriend a Tern HSD S+ (the spendy model), and I found the Bosch motor a less capable climber than my 4-year-old Yamaha motor.

Good luck!
Hi fellow photographer, I couldn't ask for a more relevant reply, many thanks :)

I shoot quite a bit of architecture too, and I'm using Sony cameras with adapted Nikon and Canon lenses (no Sony tilt-shift lenses, yet). Given the subject matter of my post, I love architecture jobs just from a kit point of view: one medium camera bag and a tripod: heaven! (two cameras, 3-5 lenses, sometimes a set of speedlights and triggers, nano-light stands). I do have a colleague who is shooting architecture with an 8x10 camera, he needs a much bigger vehicle than I do :)

Good info on how you work and transport your kit, I really appreciate it. I'm car-less, as I've never needed one in London before (I'm an expat Canadian, it was strange to move here and have no car, after having two cars in Canada). I did consider a two-wheeled trailer, to deal with tipping, but they are wide enough that I was worried about London traffic (have you been here? The car lanes are quite narrow! Very little room in between, much less for bikes, though we're getting more and more bike lanes now).

I did consider going with panniers, but decided against, just from an access-equipment-on-site point of view (esp if I'm locking the bike and walking around to shoot, heavy panniers are not convenient to haul around). A camera bag, with a single-layer of well organised kit, outweighed the idea of panniers (even the multi-story ones you can get, that have bags on the side and top of the rack). There is also the capacity issue, as even the biggest pannier bags can't carry my max load of kit. Thus my desire for the trailer (and I did find the Coho XC trailer did feel like it was going to tip on my single test ride, so I'll have to pack it more carefully).

Well done on the Peak Design tripod, I've borrowed a couple from friends on occasion, it's a nice one. I'm afraid I've gone completely in the other direction: my main tripod is a Gitzo that goes up to 3 metres. Plus, I tend to bring two more tripods, one "normal" sized Manfrotto 055, and a smaller Manfrotto, plus two or three tabletop tripods. Of course, I only pack out this much when I'm shooting timelapse, as I shoot with multiple cameras simultaneously, one of which is almost always on motion-control equipment (2m slider, plus pan-tilt-focus, which fits in a long tripod bag, something I can't fit on a pannier rack). It's a lot, thus my need for bike plus trailer!

Thanks for the endorsement for suspension. Frankly, I'd always gotten away with bikes with no suspension but, of course, my circumstances have changed (and your points, esp "kinder to kit" is a very good one, as is the point re: cantilevers!). The Haibike AllMtn do seem costly, but hugely capable. Of course, now you've broadened my criteria, rather than narrowed them ;-)

And your suggestion of a Tern HSD is a great one, I happened upon that model soon after I posted my OP, funnily enough (I had thought that Tern's only cargo offering was the GSD). The HSD models are quite expensive here in the UK (disappointing, as Tern is much closer to us than to the US). The cheapest model tends to be around £3,300 in all the retailers I can find (and I've found many!), though the belt-driven models are much more attractive (and the low-end belt version sells at £3900). As for the S+ model, that's the one with the most powerful Bosch (and costs £5300 here), I'm disappointed to hear that it didn't perform as well as your much older Yamaha.

Thanks again for all the great info and suggestions, much appreciated.
 

FlatSix911

Well-Known Member
Methinks you are right, thanks for bringing that up, I really appreciate it.
As for the "low" ceiling I quoted for my "upper" bike price, I have to admit, before researching the market, I did think I was going to spend about £1000 (as my previous bike was £750, I thought that adding a motor shouldn't be too much more, LOL!). I am becoming more aware that I'm going to have to spend more to get a bike that can be my work vehicle. Just fyi: very few cobbled streets here in London, these days :)

I do have an eye on a used bike that a colleague has offered (not a close friend, just someone who heard through the grapevine that I was looking, so I can't get a look at the bike before a purchase). A KTM Macina Gran 8 (belt version), but the price he's offering is based on the price in the link I posted, while the retail price has dropped quite a bit at other sellers (so the used price is almost the same as some retail prices, unfortunately). Repairs are an issue as well, as I haven't found any bike shops listing KTM bikes as something they'd address (though it is a very esoteric question!). Some of this community have been very helpful in this first thread I wrote, but I did decide to write this thread and see if someone could suggest something more suitable.

Thanks very much for the contribution, I really appreciate it!
I would take a look at the EBR list of Best Electric Cargo Bikes of 2020

These picks for the best electric cargo bikes of 2020 have the best combinations of value and features across several styles of cargo bikes on the market today. In addition to these featured picks, you can check out all 60 of our electric cargo bikes reviews listed here. Comparing electric bikes is our specialty, and Electric Bike Review has the most complete and impartial reviews in the industry. Since 2012, we’ve helped millions of people discover electric bikes that fit their lifestyle, needs, and budget.
Table of Contents:

Best Value Cargo Electric Bikes for 2020

Not everyone has $4.5k to spend on an electric cargo bike, but there are plenty of options that still offer great quality and value for less. The Magnum Payload only costs $2.4k and comes with many of the accessories that other cargo models charge extra for. You’ll get fenders, a bamboo deck for the rear rack, a steer-tube mounted front basket, running boards to support panniers or passenger feet, and a suspension seat post for comfort. Further improving comfort are high volume 2.4″ wide 26″ tires front and rear. These lower the attack angle to smooth out bumps, but they also raise the rear rack a bit compared to others on this list. Brakes are very important when you’re hauling heavier loads and dealing with a powerful 500 watt motor, so Magnum chose large 180mm hydraulic disc brakes that provide excellent stopping power and have built-in motor inhibitors for added control. Their hub motor drive system isn’t as fancy as some of the mid-drive models, but the bike comes with a throttle in addition to pedal assist. This makes it easier to start and gives you a break from pedaling at times. My favorite part about the Payload is that it’s made by Magnum, which has one of the largest dealer networks and best support staff in the industry. Electric cargo bikes are long and heavy… especially longtails! Having a dealer to visit for test rides, accessories, and ongoing service makes a big difference. Considering all that you get here, I consider the price point to be great and since I’ve been reviewing Magnum ebikes since late 2014, they’ve earned my trust. Click the image or title below to visit the full review with more details, or add it to your compare list by clicking the box below.
Value

Magnum Payload Review

  • MSRP: $2,499
  • MODEL YEAR: 2019
A long-tail speed pedelec cargo ebike from Magnum that is also feature rich with fenders, rear long rack, front cargo basket, suspension seat post, tool-free adjustable stem, competitively priced at just $2,499, and uses a powerful drivetrain and electrical system. Driven by a powerful Das-Kit rear hub-drive motor that is rated at a 500 watts,… Read Review

Best Affordable Cargo Electric Bikes for 2020

Okay, if you’re excited about electric cargo bikes but limited on funds, this next ebike is the best choice in my opinion. They don’t have as many dealers as some of the more expensive brandsd, but they do have partnerships with mobile bike shops (as well as some of their own delivery vans) that makes it easier to receive and enjoy. My pick for best affordable e-cargo bike is the Rad Power Bikes RadWagon 4! This is a second-generation product, having been improved from the popular original, with a brand new tire size made especially for the use case of hauling. Rad works closely with many of their suppliers to get co-branded hardware (lights, tires, seats) with special features. In this case, they’ve got smaller 22″ wheels with extra-wide plus sized 3″ wide tires. The result is a wheel that has a medium attack angle, lots of stability side to side, and extra air for cushion comfort. Oh, and the tires have puncture resistant lining to reduce flats :) Rad has the lower rear rack that’s easier to load up with kids and cargo, but not so low that their derailleur or optional running boards hit the curb if you get too close. I love that the RadWagon 4 comes with fenders, an adjustable angle stem, swept back handlebar, ergonomic grips, integrated lights front and rear (with blinking rear light mode!), and reflective tires. They really went to town here in terms of safety… and the white frame is probably the most visible. Unlike most of the other affordable cargo ebikes I’ve reviewed, this one comes in three colorways! You can get high-visibility orange, black, or the white shown in the photos. The approachable frame is easy to stand over and the telescoping seat tube (with two tube sections) provides lots of options for rider height and leg length. Rad is known for creating bikes that work well for most riders while limiting the number of “trade offs” to keep prices low. In this case, the mechanical disc brakes are one of those sacrifices. While they do have motor inhibitors and large 180mm rotors, the mechanical line often requires more hand strength to pull than hydraulic and can get gunked up with water and dust over time. The bike itself is also more heavy, and the cadence sensor and throttle design aren’t as dynamic as a multi-sensor mid-drive. Until recently, the original RadWagon (which I reviewed on multiple occasions) was my best affordable pick. If you find that product used, it’s still a great ebike… and it just uses the larger 26″ wheels vs. 20″ here. I appreciate that all of the current-gen Rad ebikes share the same battery design that’s interchangeable, and also use the same racks and accessories… for the most part. Despite being “cheap” this brand has gained widespread brand recognition and should hold its value better than some others at the same price level. Click the image or title below to visit the full review with more details, or add it to your compare list by clicking the box below.
Affordable

Rad Power Bikes RadWagon 4 Review

  • MSRP: $1,499
  • MODEL YEAR: 2020
An affordable but refined electric cargo bike with custom 22" x 3.0" tires that improve stability and comfort while still keeping the cargo holds low and easy to load. Approachable but stiff mid-step frame comes in three beautiful colors. Reflective tires and quality integrated lights help keep you visible and safe. Powerful fat-bike rated 80nm geared hub motor provides excellent power for starting, hauling gear or… Read Review

Honorable Mention Cargo Electric Bikes for 2020

This list would not be complete without mentioning Tern! This company got its start in the non-electric folding bicycle space years ago. Some of the founding team members got their start at another famous folding bicycle company called Dahon! Maybe that doesn’t mean a lot to you, but for me it’s exciting and really speaks to the quality and depth of design experience at hand. Tern makes two cargo models that come in a few different flavors, depending on the drivetrain you choose (cassette or internally geared hub). You can choose the longer GSD (get stuff done) or mid-sized HSD (haul stuff daily). Both come with reflective puncture resistant tires, premium hydraulic disc brakes, fenders, telescoping seat posts to suite a wide range of riders, multiple colors, and some cool folding elements such as the handlebar. What really wowed me about the bikes is how they can be stood upright on their tails to save space in the elevator, closet, or garage! Tern is approaching the cargo category as if it were the all around city ebike space. They only make folding and unique-cargo as I’ll call it. Sure, the cargo models are longer than a traditional city bike and the 20″ wheels are smaller… making cargo easy to load like many of the others on this list, but they look more intentional. Unlike the originators in the longtail space that actually evolved out of kits that would connect to a normal city frame and extend the tail for cargo… Tern is completely purpose-built and they achieve excellent weight distribution, stiffness, and ride quality as a result. Over time, more companies are going in this same direction. Benno Bikes and Rad Power Bikes come to mind. With the Tern HSD S8i you get a compact cargo bike that uses one of the best drive systems and is designed by one of the best companies around. It’s easier to find at local shops, easier to service and get parts for, and it comes with a suspension fork… which is very rare and unique. As someone who isn’t a huge fan of the super small wheel size, which offers a higher attack angle and introduces more bumpy feel, I love that they chose to target comfort in this way. If you’re someone with just one child, or you know that you’ll be riding without a lot of cargo, or you’re limited on length space, the HSD could be perfect for you. If you need that long-tail for two child seats, check out the GSD instead. Click the image or title below to visit the full review with more details, or add it to your compare list by clicking the box below.


Tern HSD S8i Review

  • MSRP: $3,799
  • MODEL YEAR: 2020
A high-quality midtail electric cargo bike that can stand vertically to save space! Available in eight colors (four for the S8i configuration) but only one frame size. Slack seat tube angle and two seat post segments provide a range of fit options for short and tall riders alike.. Lighter and less expensive than the Tern GSD model, the HSD (which stands for Haul… Read Review
 

chasg

Member
I recommend you test ride a Wisper Wayfarer, several dealers around London, their design office is in Kent, and the bikes are imported from China. This is a new model and so the difficulty is getting hold of one, the owner reports he has sold 3,000 and is quoting delivery in spring 2021. Available with either hub or mid-drive motors, the mid-drive model in standard configuration plus the optional 700wh battery pack is GBP 2,549 though reportedly prices and delivery times are going to rise, and with the larger battery weighs 29kg/63lb. The mid-drive has a torque pedal assist sensor and a throttle, the hub drive has a torque sensor upgrade option. The mid-drive motor is a new one, the Wuxi TruckRun M01 the Wisper owner says it was designed by the Bafang Max design team. The motor has just started appearing here in the US on the Priority Current.
And this answer is exactly why I posted here, I'd not come across Wisper at all myself (and I thought I'd been quite thorough with all the reading and online research I've been doing, how embarrassing).

They look like good bikes (tick a lot of my boxes, and 63lb isn't a deal-breaker), and are local, what a bonus. Backordered to infinity is not a bonus, but I can wait, if it's just the right bike. I've found a few retailers who list Wisper bikes, I'll call and see if any are available for test rides.

Thanks for the link to the discussion on the Pedelecs forum, I'm reading with interest (unproven motors aren't ideal, but they look like they stand behind them).

Thanks very much!
 

indianajo

Well-Known Member
I carry up to 40 kg of cargo on the rear, and don't want a trailer. I've had trouble falling off MTB's and cruisers. The front wheel whips sideways on a pavement separator, a speed bump, a stick, a ridge of gravel, the rear wheel lifts in the air and over the handlebar I go on my chin. 4X in 5 years. Hasn't happened on the cargo bike left with my weight on the front tire and the load on the back one.
Furthermore, if you want ultimate reliability, I can't see buying a mid drive with their tendency to eat chains. I get ~5000 miles out of my chain, 2 1/2 years. Also middrives require professional tools to remove cranks etc. When my front hub drive failed at 4500 miles, I had the new power wheel bolted on and running in 2 afternoons. Had the motor been compatible with the old controller, it would have been one afternoon. Had to make new mount brackets for the new controller, and rearrange the handlebar for the the throttle, incompatible with the old. Yes, it takes 15 minutes more to change a front tire with a motor in it. I have to unbolt the torque arm and unclip and unplug the wires. I ride knobby kenda tires and mostly don't get flats if I keep the knobs taller than 3/32". With your reliability requirements, I'd keep a spare power wheel & controller in the flat at all times.
Hub motor cargo bikes in your price range include magnum & m2s. I ride a yuba, there are also entries from xtracycle and blix. Rad has 34 complaints about loose spokes on known problems thread; I view them as a fashion accessory rather than a bicycle. My Mac12 motor will start 330 lb gross on a 15% grade, and runs faster than 6 if I have momentum going into the grade. Your gross weight would be higher of course, but I don't see 15% grades around London.
My battery is caged in aluminum angle hung on the front from the in frame basket mount holes. After the mount nuts are removed, it takes a nail puller to pull the 3 1/2" bolts out of the mounts, or a grinder to take the heads off. Bicycle thieves in my town are not so equipped. Twice while I was shopping people tooks some screws out of the mount, always the wrong ones. There are ~20 screws.
I use a stainless steel cable and a $37 lock for security. If I lived in a bigger city I'd use 1/2" stainless cable, but nobody has attempted anything on 3/8" here. The lock would be easier to cut, and a abus granite lock would fit the sling if I wanted to spend $125 for a lock without a core.
Happy shopping & commuting.
 
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chasg

Member
I would take a look at the EBR list of Best Electric Cargo Bikes of 2020

These picks for the best electric cargo bikes of 2020 have the best combinations of value and features across several styles of cargo bikes on the market today. In addition to these featured picks, you can check out all 60 of our electric cargo bikes reviews listed here. Comparing electric bikes is our specialty, and Electric Bike Review has the most complete and impartial reviews in the industry. Since 2012, we’ve helped millions of people discover electric bikes that fit their lifestyle, needs, and budget.
Thanks for replying to this thread too, I really appreciate it.

And I assure you that I've read the "Best Electric Cargo Bikes" listing a couple of times now (good SEO: that link popped right up on my very first searches, and it's also how I ended up on these excellent fora). Thanks for the re-pointer though; given the replies I've had here so far, I'm going to go back to look at them again, now that I'm re-thinking my criteria.

That KTM Macina Gran is still in the back of my mind though :)
 

chasg

Member
I carry up to 40 kg of cargo on the rear, and don't want a trailer. I've had trouble falling off MTB's and cruisers. The front wheel whips sideways on a pavement separator, a speed bump, a stick, a ridge of gravel, the rear wheel lifts in the air and over the handlebar I go on my chin. 4X in 5 years. Hasn't happened on the cargo bike left with my weight on the front tire and the load on the back one.
Furthermore, if you want ultimate reliability, I can't see buying a mid drive with their tendency to eat chains. I get ~5000 miles out of my chain, 2 1/2 years. Also middrives require professional tools to remove cranks etc. When my front hub drive failed at 4500 miles, I had the new power wheel bolted on and running in 2 afternoons. Had the motor been compatible with the old controller, it would have been one afternoon. Had to make new mount brackets for the new controller, and rearrange the handlebar for the the throttle, incompatible with the old. Yes, it takes 15 minutes more to change a front tire with a motor in it. I have to unbolt the torque arm and unclip and unplug the wires. I ride knobby kenda tires and mostly don't get flats if I keep the knobs taller than 3/32". With your reliability requirements, I'd keep a spare power wheel & controller in the flat at all times.
Hub motor cargo bikes in your price range include magnum & m2s. I ride a yuba, there are also entries from xtracycle and blix. My Mac12 motor will start 330 lb gross on a 15% grade, and runs faster than 6 if I have momentum going into the grade. Your gross weight would be higher of course, but I don't see 15% grades around London.
My battery is caged in aluminum angle hung on the front from the in frame basket mount holes. After the mount nuts are removed, it takes a nail puller to pull the 3 1/2" bolts out of the mounts, or a grinder to take the heads off. Bicycle thieves in my town are not so equipped. Twice while I was shopping people tooks some screws out o the mount, always the wrong ones. There are ~20 screws.
I use a stainless steel cable and a $37 lock for security. If I lived in a bigger city I'd use 1/2" stainless cable, but nobody has attemted anything on 3/8" here. The lock would be easier to cut, and a abus granite would fit the sling if I wanted to spend $125.
Happy shopping & commuting.
Hi, thanks very much for the info.

It sounds like you could be the headmaster at the School of Hard Knocks, phew! And you've put 5000 miles on your bike? (and, I assume, more than once), wow. Somehow I doubt I'll be doing that sort of milage, but wear and tear at that level is something to think about.

I've read multiple places that mid-drive systems are rougher on chains, which made sense to me (of course), but nowhere did I read how rough they could be on chains. Very good point to consider, given how hard I'd be pushing any bike (it does have me thinking on belt drives). But I've also read that hub drives aren't able to deal with the loads that mid-drives can, especially hills (again, not a lot of them here in London, but they do pop up at the most inopportune times). But your experience shows that that isn't as much of an issue as I thought it would be.

I'll check out the models from the companies you've mentioned, thanks for the suggestions, just what I needed :)

And I love how you've protected your battery! Frustrating thieves is an honourable pursuit. London is a haven for bike-thieves, so I'll have to carry multiple heaviest-duty locks and cables (for both bike and trailer). Sigh.

Thanks again!
 

Alaskan

Well-Known Member
Check out this Riese & Muller Multicharger. Built to carry the weights and no cart needed. They make custom pannier bags for their oversized integegrated rear rack and there is a front rack too. The frame has a lower top tube for easier mounting. It has the Bosch motor, the most powerful in the line which, given your weight and all the gear you are carrying would be a real plus as well. They are near London Bridge and have a full range of ebikes that can be test ridden. There is no substitute for test riding a bike to determine its suitablitity.


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chasg

Member
Check out this Riese & Muller Multicharger. Built to carry the weights and no cart needed. They make custom pannier bags for their oversized integegrated rear rack and there is a front rack too. The frame has a lower top tube for easier mounting. It has the Bosch motor, the most powerful in the line which, given your weight and all the gear you are carrying would be a real plus as well. They are near London Bridge and have a full range of ebikes that can be test ridden. There is no substitute for test riding a bike to determine its suitablitity.


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Thanks for that pointer!

This, at least, is a brand I've already heard of, though I understand that they define the term "premium", ha ha. I didn't know that they had a London shop, I'll definitely check them out (I'm sure you're right: a test ride would be invaluable).

One thing I'm learning from all these replies: my "upper" budget was wildly optimistic, LOL.
 

chasg

Member
Oh, not really :) It's in Southwark (the Brits pronounce that "Soh-dock"). I need to pay a visit to that store the next time I'm in London!
You'll get more recognition from Londoners by saying "Suh-thuk" :) And it's still not all that far from London Bridge, so it's in the right ballpark (cricketpark?).

Next time you're in London gimmie a shout, the beer is on me (you'll be standing in for all the people here who've helped me in my search :)
 

Alaskan

Well-Known Member
In doing your test riding, I would suggest a subtle but meaningful change of mindset. You are in a brave new world. Rather than looking for a bicycle which most of us have thought of as sports equipment, you are looking for a reliable daily transportation vehicle. Toward that end, solid, robust construction is desirable. A motor, battery, electrical system that has a reputation for a high degree of dependability is key. Higher spec brakes with larger rotors, built for mountain bikes could end up saving your life.

The pain of paying more than you initially were planning on wears of quickly. The comfort and satisfaction of owning a bike that really works for your daily use and keeps you safer and more comfortable in the process, endures and renews every time you mount up.
 

chasg

Member
In doing your test riding, I would suggest a subtle but meaningful change of mindset. You are in a brave new world. Rather than looking for a bicycle which most of us have thought of as sports equipment, you are looking for a reliable daily transportation vehicle. Toward that end, solid, robust construction is desirable. A motor, battery, electrical system that has a reputation for a high degree of dependability is key. Higher spec brakes with larger rotors, built for mountain bikes could end up saving your life.

The pain of paying more than you initially were planning on wears of quickly. The comfort and satisfaction of owning a bike that really works for your daily use and keeps you safer and more comfortable in the process, endures and renews every time you mount up.
Wisdom, and gratefully received :)
 

Alaskan

Well-Known Member
In perusing other bikes at Fully Charged, I noticed that they carry Cube. That is a solid, well made German bike, not quite as robustly built as Riese & MUller but still worth a look. Their Kathmandu model is well equipped ebike with Bosch drive system.

Oh, by the way, belt drive is great but I would not trust the Shimano Alphine geared hub with all the weight you are dealing with. The geared hub that would be best suited is a Rohloff but those add about 1,500 pounds to the cost of a bike.

The advantage of a classic derailleur and chain is that parts are readily available everywhere as are bike mechanics who can fix it for you quickly.


Kathmandu-Hybrid-Pro-1-1500x700.jpg
 

indianajo

Well-Known Member
One thing I'm learning from all these replies: my "upper" budget was wildly optimistic, LOL.
One thing you could do, if you have a terminal crimper/stripper a drill motor some drills, safety glasses and a vise, is convert a mongoose Envoy. About a $700 cargo bicycle with mechanical disk brakes like mine which stop me well. Envoy has footplates to keep your panniers out of the shifter, which I see the Reiss & mueller lacks. Then you could spend $1100 on a front hub motor and 17 AH battery, $60 on aluminum angle & stainless 5 mm screws & elastic stop nuts. You can't buy a front motor bike because of the liability of falls, but the rule is: no power on steel plates, rock, mud covered roads. I love having a front motor, allows me to have 8 speeds on the back. Rear hub motors only allow 7 speed sprocket clusters, and that wasn't enough speeds to get up 15% grades without power. (The throttle does fail sometimes in heavy rain). There are 11:34 7 speed rear hubs cataloged, but nobody ever had one in stock in the US. 14:28 only. See the mongoose envoy thread under diy kits forum.
All those tools are only about $200, handy to have IMHO. Use taiwanese or US crimp terminals, the ****ese ones melt out at 30 amps. T&B, Ideal, Panduit, TE connectivity (AMP), 3M, Dorman. A klein or ideal crimp tool is longer and makes better crimps IMHO.
If you buy a power wheel separately from the bike, you may be able to sneak a Mac12 hub motor through customs. 500W. European regs require e-bikes to be limited to 350 W, pretty wimpy IMHO. More power, they are motorcycles with licences, insurance, driver's license. Mac12 has more torque than the 10 (faster starts) and a lower top speed. Mine will go about 25 on the flat.
Two other advantages of front hub motor & front mount battery self installed. It makes the bike easier to roll into the garage over the step not having 12 lb on the back plus the cargo. It also helps balance the bike, the two ends are more equal in weight. Wiggles less. I had a rear hub motor for a while, didn't like it as much as this setup.
BTW this bike is getting close to 8000 miles use. 1 set brake pads, 4 sets tires, shifter cable, front fender (hits my foot), 2 headlights, 1 hub motor worn out. 5 saddles & still looking for a bicycle lounge chair for my fat free hips.
 
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Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
You'll get more recognition from Londoners by saying "Suh-thuk" :) And it's still not all that far from London Bridge, so it's in the right ballpark (cricketpark?).
Thank you! I'm Polish and the English way of transcribing the pronunciation is still a mystery for me :) Would you write for me how you pronounce Streatham please?
Oh, the store is equally distant from the Tower Bridge....