Noob doing research, looking for ebike for a 33 mile commute

Operator7

Active Member
Hello everyone,

First I would like to thank the man doing all of the video reviews, the Facebook page, and this site. It's been a wealth of information. I am in the process of researching, and soon I plan to rent an ebike and ride one for the first time.

My situation is that I live in Long Beach, California, and work in Santa Monica. From Santa Monica to Palos Verdes, there is a long stretch of bike path along the beach. From there, I'd have to cross some streets to get to another major bike path on the LA River which would take me the rest of the way. There is one main street that I'd take to cut across this part, and there is a bike lane for most of that stretch. My current commute by car has historically been 55 minute average on a normal day. Over the years the traffic can swing heavier and lighter, but this past year it has increased dramatically, where my commute is often 90 minutes or more. In considering different options, I came across electric bicycles, and began checking them out. As I thought more about it, I realized that a good part of my commute could be a bike ride along the beach. I could turn a long and stressful commute into one of exercise and leisure, even stopping in places like Manhattan and Redondo Beach for a bite or drink and enjoy a sunset.

At any rate, I think I'd feel comfortable spending between the two and three thousand dollar range. I would definitely be open to spending more for significant increases in performance and/or comfort. I have ridden regular bikes in the past, but never an e-bike. I am planning on renting one either this weekend or sometime in the very near future. Not sure exactly what I need or want yet, but my thoughts so far are the following:

1) Battery that has significant life (at least 35 mile range, but preferably more).
2) Removable battery so that I can re-charge once I reach the office.
3) Bike that will go up to 20 mph with no pedaling required, but also will go faster if I do pedal. (I don't think I can pedal the full hour or more trip.)
4) Capability for rack on the back for a duffle bag, and a place for a water bottle.
5) A bike that will make my trip as easy and as comfortable as possible. I am very athletic, but I am past 40, so I don't want to be an olympiad in order to pull this off. Also, I won't be riding every day, but I'm thinking just a couple days a week, while the other days I'll drive.

I am reading these forums, watching the video reviews, looking for ebike guides on the web, etc.. If any of you experienced riders could offer any thoughts, suggestions or feedback, it would be most welcome. If nothing else, I'd just double-check and ask you - do you think an ebike can pull off what I'm considering? From what I've learned so far, I think so, but would like to get feedback from people with experience.

Thanks very much if you've read this.

Best
 

pxpaulx

Well-Known Member
I would recommend a look at the Easy Motion bikes (I have the neo xtrem) - with pedal assist their range would definitely be up around 30 miles or more - I don't use throttle at all with mine, it makes pedaling a breeze without over-working if you're concerned about showing up to work in a sweat! Battery is also easily removable.

For that sort of distance with a commercially available bike you'll have to be pedaling at least some of the time - if you are looking for that kind of range mainly without pedal assist you'd probably have to get something built (or buy a 2nd battery).
 

Operator7

Active Member
Thanks for your feedback pxpaulx!

I definitely would be pedaling at least some of the time. I'm athletic (but no olympic athlete :p ), and want to workout somewhat, and figure if nothing else, I could just bring a change of clothes in a duffle bag. I will checkout the Easy Motion bikes!!

Curious, do you commute? How long do you normally ride for?
 
Operator, you live a beautiful area with great weather. Your commute shows up as 27 miles by bicycle, ONE WAY; that's a lot of biking twice a day. I commute 10 miles on my road bike,each way, and that's no problem.. Only takes 32 minutes.

Before you commit to spending thousands of dollars on one of these bikes, try to take the trip on a regular bike on the weekend.. both days.. See what you think.

IMO 27 miles is a lot of traffic and time to deal with on a bicycle, even an eBike.

If your sole reason to buy an eBike is that commute, you may want to take a few practice runs..

AS much as I love biking, like 5000 miles a year, I wouldn't make that commute more than a couple of times
 
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Brambor

Well-Known Member
Good point. E biking is not effort free. To the contrary, the most tangible difference on mu 15 mile commute is SPEED

not effort
 

Brambor

Well-Known Member
You might need 3batteries for that. :) some bikes have a throttle to go unassisted but the range diminishes more for such use.
 

PowerMe

Well-Known Member
eBikes with throttle assist will go up to 20mph unassisted. The question is, what range can you realistically expect if you do so, as it will use up the battery faster.

To give you a hint of range, I just purchased an Easy Motion EVO Street (36v/12ah battery). Easy Motion says the range for my model eBike is from 30 mi up to a max of 60 mi. Granted, perhaps my battery needs to be better broken in, but right now I'd say my total range in my area is maybe 30 and possibly more like 28 mi. That range is what I experience using the lowest level of assist Eco mode 50% of the time and something higher comprising the other 50%. I don't have flat roads, more like small rolling hills.

Others here with Easy Motion bikes have gotten far more range than me, but I can only report what I'm getting at the moment. You never want to run your battery down to zero and from what I've read by others here, it's best to charge the battery at no lower than 20%.

Realistically, you'll need to recharge your battery while at work, unless you have an extra battery all charged up. That might occur with most eBikes you'd consider, although there are eBikes that have bigger batteries (like the Stromer ST2).

So figure out what you really want and expect to do in riding a bike to work and then get the best bike you can afford that best matches your needs.
 

Brambor

Well-Known Member
I wonder how much adverse effect will wind have on your commute given the fact your route hugs the coast.

If you pull it off the savings from such a long distance (vs driving) should pay for a new ebike every year. You should be able to invest in the best and priciest choices on the market.
 

J.R.

Well-Known Member
I would never attempt that commute on a regular bike.

Do e-bikes not go 20mph unassisted?

20mph unassisted throttle only may get you 20 miles if you're lucky. Likely 15 to 20 with inclines and wind. In addition you will not be going 20mph on the second half of your battery.
 

Operator7

Active Member
On a side note, I had planned to charge the battery once reaching the office. I also planned to ride only a couple days out of the week (not every day). I can definitely handle SOME pedaling, but of course, I am not able to pedal hard for an hour or more.
 

Brambor

Well-Known Member
you may be surprised how quickly your muscles adjust, especially when the hills and wind get flattened with the assist of the battery. I think that your distance of 33 miles is probably not practical and if you still decide to do this you need to realize the wear and tear on the equipment and understand how much money you are saving by not driving a car and set aside those savings right away so that you can tap into that pool of money if there are needs for parts replacement.
 

Operator7

Active Member
My main concern is not cost, but practicality. If I could do this a few times a week, it would replace a lot of idle, stressful time in the car with some great exercise and leisure. I know you and others mentioned the ST2, but as a noob, I definitely do not want to invest that kind of money, not even knowing how well this will work.

And I still don't get how a bike like the Easy Motion Evo, for example, can list an estimated min range of 35 miles (max of 60), yet not suit my purpose. Maybe it's just me, but the min should be the battery working at full output.
 

Brambor

Well-Known Member
Well these bikes have maximum weight guidelines which many (including me) exceed. That is weight of the bike plus weight of the person plus weight of additional accessories and cargo.

So min should probably be this weight, going throttle only on as hilly as possible terrain. Is it? I doubt it. First you would see the range dropping to 30% of max or less and then you could look at breakage of parts due to excess stress on the equipment.
 

jazz

Well-Known Member
Get a good bike with most powerful battery you can. It will be worth the extra money. Especially if you are going up a lot of hills and want to use a higher peddle assist mode and a lot of throttle only. That will eat up a battery fast. You may want to also purchase extra battery or better yet get an extra charger to keep one at each destination so you don't have to carry a charger with you back and forth.
 

claucXC

New Member
My commute is just about half of what yours will be and I ride what sounds like a portion of the same route. I have an Izip E3 Peak and I use PAS level 3 (out of 5) for the ride into work the whole way. I consume about 40% of the battery just going through the hills and I end up with about 20% left by the time I get to work. You could use a lower assist level and save some battery, especially through the hills, but it sounds like more effort than you're looking to expend. Also not sure how much difference a hub drive would be on the battery going through the hills because I can take advantage of the gears on my bike (mid-drive).
 

George S.

Well-Known Member
If this is really going to end up being a 2 hour commute, anything like that, one way, it doesn't sound like a good place to start.

Absolutely rent a bike. People can tell you how pedal assist works, but it's a great thing. You can pedal assist with a throttle, or have an automatic system. Some bikes have very accurate displays of power remaining, even miles remaining. Also consider the Cycle Analyst.

Really, for people in decent shape, the battery will last a long time with 'comfortable' pedaling. Still, just rent a bike and ride a representative part of the commute.

The beach path sounds really nice, compared to a car commute in gridlock.