Need help choosing first e-bike.

cubsfan61

New Member
Hi. First post in the forum. I'm looking to purchase my first e-bike. I'm currently riding a 23yo Trek 850. I'm looking for something nice for cruising around town, occasionally commuting, and with the ability to hit trails (particularly when travelling). Hoping to have a front suspension fork. There are so many models and brands, it's a bit overwhelming, but I've listed a few of my "favorites" below. Trying to decide if it's worth paying the extra $ to go mid-drive and with one of the big name brands. FYI, I'm 5'8", 175, 59yo if that helps it determining what might be the best fit.

Big Name Brands
Specialized Vado 4 (or possibly 3)
Specialized Vado 4 SL (hard to find)
Trek Allant 7+ S
Cannondale Tesoro Neo X 3 Remixte

Others
Surface640 Colt
Gazelle T10+ Ultimate or Cityzen T10
Aventon Level
Bulls Lacuba E45
Haibike Trekking 9.0S

Also like the Dost bikes, although the weight seems high and they aren't shipping until mid-August. I know that's a lot of options. Hoping to narrow it down quite a bit. Thanks!!!

P.S. My local bike shops (Trek, Specialized, Cannondale) don't have the Vado 4, Allant 7+ or Tesoro Neo X 3 in stock, although I'm sure they would order one for me. : )

Kevin Jones
 

indianajo

Well-Known Member
Welcome to the site.
I'm the same height with short 28" inseam legs. I ride an 18" or 17" frame. You might be able to go medium 19" if your legs are longer.
Around Chicago, I see no reason for a mid-drive. they are required for 1000' rises in 15-20 minutes, found mostly in the rockies & sierras. Penalty of mid-drives, limited chance for exercise power off (except yamaha, brose, shimano) and more chain wear. I ride my geared hub motor up 15% grades in southern Indiana, but they are short, 100'. That's with 60 lb of groceries & 170 lb me plus full set of tools.
I like a geared hub motor because it doesn't drag power off. I ride power off most days, but winds can pick up to 25 mph in your face anytime these days. Those days I turn the power on. DD hub motors are cheaper, and can ride fast in cities effectively. DD motors do not accelerate as fast across an intersection as geared hub. I have some 6 second traffic lights that won't extend because a 100 lb bicycle is crossing. Only cars get the courtesy. DD hub motors drag power off, like you're in 2 sprockets higher than you really are. My $200 geared hub motor has ~5000 miles on it and has needed the cover screws tightened twice. Use blue loktite.
All brands you pick have decent reputations.
Happy shopping.
 

Dewey

Well-Known Member
Aventon, Surface 604, and Dost bikes also have a throttle in case that's important to you. Otherwise I think all those models use a torque pedal assist sensor. If you prefer local bike shop support buying from one of the bigger brands will buy you that, Aventon are sold in some shops the dealer locator suggests Bicycle Doctor in Springfield, IL might be the nearest but they're 90 miles from you so to stay local which brands do the shops in Champaign carry?
 

cubsfan61

New Member
Durst Cycle carries Specialized, Giant, Electra and Cannondale. Champaign Cycle is a Trek dealer, they have one Verve model in stock, but that's it right now.
 

cubsfan61

New Member
It's been a long time since I purchased a bike. Do local shops typically discount from MSRP on the big name brands?
 

Timpo

Well-Known Member
Budget?

Those bikes you have listed have pretty big price range.. I'm assuming money is not a concern for you?
 

cubsfan61

New Member
Well, I'm willing to go up to around $3.5K if I'm getting additional, features/quality that I wouldn't get at $1.5 to $2K. However, if there's a bike in the lower price range that meets my needs, I'm happy to save the money. I had thought I'd go mid-drive, but based on indianajo's response there are some downsides to middrive I hadn't considered.
 

MAPC

Active Member
I am loving my Vado 4.0. It seems perfect to me.
If i wanted to spend less, I would have given the Level a hard look. Seems impressive for the $$
The Allant was nice too but was priced too high compared to what I could buy the Vado for at the time.

The Vado 3 and 4 are fairly different bikes, and the SL is completely different so it would be important to decide what you are looking for in order to narrow down.
 

PatriciaK

Well-Known Member
I live in a very hilly area, and I LOVE my mid-drive! It's smooth, intuitive, and an almost seamless ride for me.

Based on the bikes you're looking at, my bike (Giant La Free E+2) doesn't meet your criteria, but I'd encourage you to at least try to ride both hub and mid drives before deep sixing one or the other. I definitely did not like the being pushed feeling of the hub drive, though many people do. Both hub and mid have their pluses and minuses - it's up to rider preference which is "better" ;)
 

cubsfan61

New Member
Yeah I wish I hadn’t missed the recent Specialized rebate. If it was still in effect it would be a no brainer.
 

Timpo

Well-Known Member
Well, I'm willing to go up to around $3.5K if I'm getting additional, features/quality that I wouldn't get at $1.5 to $2K. However, if there's a bike in the lower price range that meets my needs, I'm happy to save the money. I had thought I'd go mid-drive, but based on indianajo's response there are some downsides to middrive I hadn't considered.
If you're willing to consider purchasing an ebike from Canada, I have a feeling HillEater might still have some in their inventory.

$3,849 Canadian, which is well under $3,500.
(Link Removed - No Longer Exists)

I recommend this bike because of GMAC motor & PhaseRunner controller.