New to bikes - looking for lightweight and small frame

Edie

New Member
Hi - many thanks in anticipation of some help - everyone seems very helpful on these threads!

I am late forties, 5'1" female - looking for an bike so I can keep up with the kids despite bad knees, ankles, and a bit of asthma. Looking for pedal assist for hills only - hoping to use leg muscles for remainder.

I test drove the Raleigh Detour step through yesterday, which was nice, but wanted to widen my search. Another local dealer here in DC has the Trek Lift + low step which I could try.

I think my wishlist is
pedal assist

small frame for 5’1” -narrows down options I imagine.

lightweight

comfortable

recreational ride over paved and gravel trails (not daily use as have to drive the kids to school - sigh).

fit on a back mounted car rack (hence step-through not an option?)

removable battery charge option

Would rather pay less than $3000.

Thanks so much!
edie
 

Edie

New Member
Thanks! I'll take a look. Never tried the smaller wheel option. Would it be frustrating using it in "normal bike" mode after having been used to standard sized wheels? Thanks again.
 

Dewey

Well-Known Member
Hi Edie!

The Trek Lift+ for $2,800 has a light 45lb step-through small size frame suitable for riders over 5', and uses the Shimano STePs pedal-assist only mid-drive motor. The 6lb battery can be removed making it even lighter to lift onto a car bike rack, and the low speed walk mode will push the bike at walking pace. The location of the motor and battery keep the weight low and center for better balance. Revolution Cycles is a great DC area Trek dealer that can supply and service it. Here is Court's review.

The Pedego Interceptor 24" frame is designed for riders under 5' 2", has 5 levels of pedal assist plus twist throttle, front and rear lights powered off the battery, and is $3,000. The wide swept back cruiser handlebars may take some getting used to, it is heavier at 59lb. Although the 8lb battery can be removed, the location of the battery high up in the rear rack and the rear wheel hub motor means the bike is rear heavy which might affect handling and braking. Hybrid Pedals is a Pedego dealer with a shop in Arlington, VA and a warehouse in Baltimore, which means you will be able to get the bike serviced locally. Here is Court's review.

The Electra Townie Go! Step-thru is another low cruiser bike similar in size and weight to the Pedego, costs less at $2,600, uses the reliable Bosch mid-drive motor, and Shimano roller brakes that require a bit more pulling effort to slow down. Like the Trek the location of the motor and battery keep the weight low and center for better balance. A Trek dealer such as Revolution Cycles or an independent bike dealer like Conte's in Arlington, VA can supply it, and any Bosch certified ebike dealer can service the motor. Here is Court's review.
 
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D

Deleted member 803

Guest
And take a look at the e-city from SmartMotion and the Rook from Surface604. Both solid everyday eBikes.
 

RoadWrinkle

Active Member
The best way to ensure you find something as close to what you are looking for is test riding. With your bad knees, ankles and Asthma a comfort cruiser design would be good. Like the Electra Townie with Bosch PAS, http://www.electrabike.com/bikes/townie.
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Your more upright, on a larger more comfortable seat. So you can see everything around you better (from cars to the nice view). Less stress on the wrists and neck, as more rider forward designs have you cocking your head upward to see better and more weight carried on your wrists. The mid-drive PAS systems provide the best climbing torque but not necessarily the best riding experience for bad knees. The only way to be able to fully control how much electrical assist you want or need, and therefore how hard you have to pedal, is to have a throttle. You can get as much exercise as you want by simply pedaling more and throttling less. But more importantly, you can choose to pedal with easier force as you are able to "mix in" throttle to what ever assist level you choose. Starting from a full stop is easier with a throttle and you can get out of the way of traffic or cross intersections more safely than having to peddle out of harms way. The larger manufacturers using 250-350w/36v mid drive PAS systems like Bosch, Brose and Yamaha have no throttles on any of their bikes. These PAS systems are designed to be "riders bikes" meaning your pedaling effort is required at all times to move at any speed and you have to pedal harder if you want more assist. Most throttled bikes have hub motors, although there are smaller companies that make throttled mid-drive bikes. My wife got a 500w/48v hub motored, throttled cruiser from motiv in California, post knee surgery she loves it. https://www.motivelectricbikes.com/ Sleek_Turquoise_1024x1024.jpg

There was some trial and error for her to find the right bike. IMO, with bad knees, a 500w/48v system will ensure you have all the assist you may need. The cadence and pedaling torque required with the 250w/36v mid drives will have you working whether you want to or not. So throttles for the most flexible way to get e-assist and higher wattage's for sufficient assist levels. Have fun.
 
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dhs1963

New Member
Edie, I am also in the DC area. I am looking at an eBike, but a bigger one (I am 6'2"), I have been focusing on Trek, because there is a dealer walking distance from my NoVA house (and right off the W O & D trail). I plan to buy the Trek XM700+ in a week or two; the delay is waiting for some medical test results (I want to make sure the cancer is not back first).

I tried a lot of bikes, and settled on the Trek because it felt like a bike; some (ones with twist throttles) did not. I suspect any mid-motor bike with comparable components will feel the same. I decided on the XM700+ over the less expensive ones because, at 260 lbs, the extra mass needs extra power on the motor.
 

Al P

Active Member
Edie, in addition to all of the bikes mentioned, you should also check out the Raleigh Sprite IE and the iZip E3 Vibe+, both made by Currie. They are similar bikes, but the importantant factor for you is that they both have an available 13" step-thru frame. My wife is about the same height as you and she has both bikes and rides very comfortably on them. They have removable batteries, weigh 54 lbs., ride well on all surfaces, and have pedal assist and optional boost throttle. Both can be bought for under $2k each. Be sure to try any bike you are considering before buying it. Good luck with your purchase.
 

Edie

New Member
Thanks so much all. Really informative. Will check out all the bikes mentioned. I was keen for a light bike but any thoughts on whether one notices the difference between a 45lb bike and a 58lb bike (especially if one no longer has to push it up hills, and has no steps to lift it over for garage access etc). Are there benefits to having a heavier bike in terms of stability, or is it better to only go as heavy as 45lb if one is used to a "normal" road bike. All subjective questions, and I'm sure the best answer is "go for a test drive", but if anyone based their final choice on weight I'd be grateful for advice! Thanks again.
 

Edie

New Member
Edie, I am also in the DC area. I am looking at an eBike, but a bigger one (I am 6'2"), I have been focusing on Trek, because there is a dealer walking distance from my NoVA house (and right off the W O & D trail). I plan to buy the Trek XM700+ in a week or two; the delay is waiting for some medical test results (I want to make sure the cancer is not back first).

I tried a lot of bikes, and settled on the Trek because it felt like a bike; some (ones with twist throttles) did not. I suspect any mid-motor bike with comparable components will feel the same. I decided on the XM700+ over the less expensive ones because, at 260 lbs, the extra mass needs extra power on the motor.
Crossing fingers for a good medical test result for you!
 

Dewey

Well-Known Member
...any thoughts on whether one notices the difference between a 45lb bike and a 58lb bike especially if one no longer has to push it up hills, and has no steps to lift it over for garage access etc
I think when riding it's more important the weight of the battery and motor be evenly distributed. E-bikes that have a rear hub motor and a battery mounted high up on the rear rack put the weight on the back of the bike and this can make them tippy and the front wheel light and twitchy. At first I put my battery in a rear pannier bag but in one emergency stop situation from 20mph I locked up my rear wheel and skidded about 10 yards half out of control before I came to a halt. I have since mounted the battery where the water bottle would attach to the down-tube inside the diamond frame, and the bike just feels better balanced with the weight low and center.
 
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vincent

Well-Known Member
i do notice the difference in my 48lb folder and my heavier 58-62 lb bikes..

if possible opt for the lighter ones
 

Linda Baer

New Member
Edie, I'm curious how you made out on your bike search. My question is very similar to yours except I don't want a throttle on my bike. I'm 4'11". I have a retrofitted trek bike now that is quite heavy. I'm looking for lighter and longer battery life. Let me know what you came up with. Thanks! Linda