Newbie looking for bike advise for road trip

Thomas Croteau

New Member
Hello,

I am 54, 6ft, 180 lbs , I am looking to purchase my first Ebike, and use it on holiday adventures to start, then to daily workouts in future. So lets start with background. I currently have a Trek normal bike, semi mountain bike for road use, I have recently increased my daily ride to about 50 km a day on it. I usually only pedal at about 20 km/hr. Haven't seen the need to go faster. On my trip I may want to increase the speed to about 25 km/hr. I live on the coast in Saudi Arabia, and sometimes find the wind a bit hard for a few of the kms', but I am adjusting to it, and it usually only effects 5 kms' of my ride. The rest of the time its flat street or bike trail, with just a little incline if any. My normal bike is fine for my daily workout, but I want to buy a good Ebike that can be used on holidays exploring the other country I live in ..Vietnam.

In Vietnam I hope to start with a 1,250 km trip from Hue to Vung Tau, all across the coast of central Vietnam to the south, with a side trip to Dalat. Most of the journey will be on paved roads, some new, some old, and do not expect to be off road much if any. Some of the roads will be bumpy and in need of repair. The adventure will be down the coast and expect some wind associated with being near the coast, and the side trip to Dalat is know to be very hilly. If you have watched the Vietnam tour of Top Gear, you will notice quite a bit of hills and bad roads.

My goal is to do about 60-100 km a day, enjoy the scenery and countryside, and also get fitter all at the same time. I will pack modestly, by limiting the amount of clothes to change in, but think I can get by with maybe 3 sets of bike clothes and 2 sets of normal clothes and then have them washed every 3 days once I set in for 2 overnights in a nice beach town. So maybe a pannier weighing 20 lbs max with battery charger and other small items combined.

I am considering the Trek XM700+ 2017 edition when it is released, The Vietnam dealer thinks he can place his order for it in a few weeks time…estimate. I will add rear light and bike rack if the 2017 edition doesn't come with it, I have noticed the women's version is already released and has included both in it.

QUESTION:

Is the Trek XM700+ sound like the correct bike in this case? or should I also be considering other brands?
Do not base service on the brand, Vietnam will not have the support of this type of bike regardless of manufacturer. I initially thought of the Trek because there is a good dealer for their normal bikes there, but they haven't ever sold the Ebike version, and willing to guess neither has any other manufacturer as well.

Will I be needing a second battery to do 100km? I can adjust the daily ride to 60 km on hilly days, but on mostly flat days will like to do 60-100 km. I don't expect the whole trip to be hills, maybe some small inclines here and there, and a big hill 3-4 times for a km or more once in a while.

Is the charger good for 110v and 220 v as standard, like chargers for computers? only needing an adapter not a transformer?

My price range is maybe 4,000 usd… I can go higher, but do get sticker shock going to far more…

This is my first bike trip, if it goes well will do maybe 3 every year, head to Sapa and Hanoi in the north, and have many other routes interior of the country and neighboring countries I can explore as well.

So I am looking for some advise to ease my mind on the bike I go with and for the distances I wish to reach.
 
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Berry78

Active Member
I can't recommend a specific bike, but would highly recommend purchasing a bike that will blend into the local scene. The last thing you want when traveling out of the country is anything that makes you a target (for thieves, police, etc.).

Of course you may already be familiar with the "scene", and feel comfortable getting any bike?
 

Over50

Well-Known Member
You'll be transporting the bike between Saudi Arabia and Viet Nam or just storing in the latter while you're in the former? If transporting, perhaps some of the folding bikes might be attractive.

As for dual batteries: some of us on this site are getting excited by the prospect we might be able to buy Riese and Muller in the near future in the USA. The German company offers these sweet dual battery bikes. Seems the selection for e-bikes is much more robust for the European market:
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I too am considering the XM700+ however I think it is more of an urban bike vs a touring bike. Sounds like you are looking more for a touring option.
 

Trail Cruiser

Well-Known Member
I agree with Berry78, make your bike look pedestrian as possible to avoid thieves and hi jackers. You can make it look old and beaten down by wrapping the battery with grocery plastic bag, and cover the shiny paints with dust and find a way to disguise the motor (heck, you may use different spray paints for camouflage effect, or just cover it with camouflage plastic bag).

Trek XM 700+ appears to be in the ballpark for your intended purpose. I would add a body float seat post and one additional battery (for security and peace of mind), and good old clip on panniers on each side. http://www.cycleexif.com/review-chrome-rolltop-panniers

The battery configuration is universal to Bosch drive train so I think you should have no problem getting a 220 volt version of the charger since the biggest market for electric bike are countries that use 220 volts. http://www.worldstandards.eu/electricity/plug-voltage-by-country/

And never ever leave your bike unattended. That also leads me to recommend a reliable locking cable. Good luck and enjoy your tour!
 

Ann M.

Well-Known Member
Awesome plans @Thomas Croteau! One bit of advice, have an alternate bike in mind if you have a firm date already set for this trip. New year bike shipments can be notoriously quirky and it wouldn't hurt to have some other bikes in mind. Court has an excellent search engine on ElectricBikeReview.com and I suggest selecting the 'Show all Filters' button so you can input your specific needs or interests and see images and full reviews on a bunch of ebikes that might be equally great choices.

Another bike in your price range that you might want to consider is one of the Haibikes, perhaps the SDURO ALLMTN RC with the nice, torqey Yamaha mid drive motor and full suspension. Good handling, reasonable range and durable. Looking forward to hearing more about your journey!
 

Thomas Croteau

New Member
Thank you all for your comments. I have lived in Vietnam for many years, I have a house way deep in the Mekong near the Cambodian border away from most tourists and english speaking people as well. Even though I live there, I still turn heads as the locals from the farm areas do not see foreigners very often in their towns. I would grab attention on any bike just by being there since a majority of the trip will be on roads interconnecting the beach towns, and most foreigners would take bus, train or plane in between and not stop.
I am not worried about theft or robbery, after living there so long, I know where to go , where to stay away from, and how to take precautions when traveling with iPhone, and other valuables. After many years in Afghanistan and Iraq, and the last 5 years in Saudi Arabia, traveling in areas away from the beaten path is sort of natural to me now. At least in Vietnam for the most part, I will meet lots of happy smiling people as I travel. Not like Afghanistan, where every village I would go to kids would run out and throw rocks at my Humvee.
As far as the bike is concerned I think an extra battery is a must, I don't know how much hills I will see in Dalat, but I am thinking quite a bit, and as far as distance, I may want to push myself a few days and break the 100 km mark, and would hate to run out of battery when I need it.
Can anyone confirm if the normal US charger is 110volt only and not like a computer charger that can plug into both 110 and 220 volt? I will make a request from the Trek dealership to oder the proper charger and I would hope it would arrive as such, I have no need for 110 volt. I will have 1 spare battery in Saudi Arabia I will order form the Trek dealership here, so I can take my bike back and forth, and use it in Saudi as well. The bike transport is easy once you overcome the battery shipping problem.

I will look into the Haibikes as well, I did like the Haibike Xduro Treking Pro but was a bit reluctant on paying an additional 1k. Plus I am not sure if I will find anyone in Vietnam who can sell one, so might be harder to change brands. Vietnam is a hub of Ebikes, but they are not of this caliber. They aren't used in this manner at all. They are a very cheap, low cost scooter to them, throttle only, and looks like the old 1970 Vietnam bicycle pictures as far as style and looks.

I am planning my trip right after TET, so beginning of February, and I do hope I will get delivery before then, The Trek dealership does think they will be able to order them soon….
 

Berry78

Active Member
I'm glad you already are familiar and comfortable with Vietnam. Sounds like you will have a great time!

Any bike chargers that are designed for use in the US will be 110 compatible. We don't use 220 here (except clothes dryers and ranges).
 
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Thomas Croteau

New Member
I was just looking at the Riese and Muller bikes, they do look very nice, and having a dual battery would be heaven for a cross country trip, not having to worry at all on how far I travel that day or how much wind or hills I might see. I only wish I could have availability in Vietnam with that bike…..
 

Berry78

Active Member
I was just looking at the Riese and Muller bikes, they do look very nice, and having a dual battery would be heaven for a cross country trip, not having to worry at all on how far I travel that day or how much wind or hills I might see. I only wish I could have availability in Vietnam with that bike…..

So far, we don't have that bike in the US either :( don't know whether international shipping might be feasible for you?

I think you will be most comfortable on a full-suspension bike to help on rough roads, etc. At least front suspension and a body float or thudbuster.

Good headlight, 27.5in. wheels, solid rack that is by design, not an afterthought.

Chain and gearing that will be easy to find replacements (or carry replacements with you).

If you don't do much maintenance yourself as of now, take the time to learn as much as possible before you go.
 

George S.

Well-Known Member
If you built a bike with Chinese parts, say a Bafang hub or BBS mid-drive, would the parts be available 'locally'?

It seems like you would have to find a balance between service and parts versus complexity and sophistication. You might also want as many battery options as possible, not a proprietary battery. A simple build where you could swap the motor or the battery has advantages. Much of the US has no ebike dealers and building a simple ebike is one way around the lack of any dealer support.

Battery shipping can be very complicated. It sounds great, but maybe you don't want to be the first guy to buy an advanced European ebike in Vietnam.
 

Over50

Well-Known Member
I was just looking at the Riese and Muller bikes, they do look very nice, and having a dual battery would be heaven for a cross country trip, not having to worry at all on how far I travel that day or how much wind or hills I might see. I only wish I could have availability in Vietnam with that bike…..

I really like the geometry of the Delite too. Aside from the dual battery, the bike just looks great for trekking/touring where a variety of road types might be involved. The more I look at it the more I try to create a use for it "quit my job and start bike trekking full-time". But alas, I can't see justification for a dual battery setup given how I will probably use the bike. If it does become apparent, however, that the R&Ms will make it to the States soon, I'd sure consider delaying my purchase to wait on their Charger Nuvinci HS (belt drive version).
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Edward 1

New Member
Thinking a little outside the box, but could a person install a little gas bike kit in addition to your ebike? Just for emergencies...
 

Chris Nolte

Well-Known Member
We're very excited about the Riese & Muller bikes. I had the privilege of spending some time with Heiko one of the Co-Founders in Germany last month and we even got to visit his factory in Germany. They are a really smart company with a foundation in engineering since they were founded in 1993 with the introduction of the Birdy. I am happy to announce we will have a full lineup of samples in our store next month and we placing orders regularly for production. Feel free to reach out with any questions.
 

Thomas Croteau

New Member
We're very excited about the Riese & Muller bikes. I had the privilege of spending some time with Heiko one of the Co-Founders in Germany last month and we even got to visit his factory in Germany. They are a really smart company with a foundation in engineering since they were founded in 1993 with the introduction of the Birdy. I am happy to announce we will have a full lineup of samples in our store next month and we placing orders regularly for production. Feel free to reach out with any questions.
I would love to get some info, pricing , lead time on a charger gt nuvinci hs with dual battery
 

Berry78

Active Member
I would love to get some info, pricing , lead time on a charger gt nuvinci hs with dual battery

I thought at first you were looking at the same bike as me, then I realized I like the GX instead. HS, curry, Rohloff...now, how to sell a kidney to afford....

The GT is a gorgeous bike too! What color do you like?
 
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Chris Nolte

Well-Known Member
Riese & Müller just added their US version of their website which will have all the pricing. We should have all the models on our site in the next week or so and we will be receiving our first shipment of demo's in mid to late October. The bikes will built to order and we will be air shipping them in. They utilize a just in time inventory process which addresses many of the supply issues faced by other brands. It's a bit of a shift in thinking, but I think it's super smart. I've gotten to spend a good amount of time with Heiko over the past month, in Germany and just recently at Interbike. He is a very forward thinking sort of guy and I'm happy to call him a friend :)

Check out the US website here: https://www.r-m.de/en-us/
 

Over50

Well-Known Member
Riese & Müller just added their US version of their website which will have all the pricing...

Wonderful. Prices actually came out a bit lower vs when I just converted the GBP price to USD. Glad R&M is tackling the US market!