Picking an ebike

camperholland

New Member
Region
USA
My wife and I enjoy riding our bikes, but we are finding we can't do as much peddling as we us to. I'm unable to swing my leg over the seat to get on anymore. We are in our late 60's with health issues. We thought an ebike might be the answer. Most of the ebikes I've looked at around the Atlanta, Ga area are expensive. Trying to decide on buying from a bikes shop or ordering online. Need some insight on what would be the best ebikes for us to buy.
 

Gordon71

Well-Known Member
I and many others have had very good luck with the Rad line up. My 2020 Rad Rover Step Through now has over 2600 miles on it with no problems. Just took my first ride on a Rad Mini Step Through yesterday and like it a lot. Bought that one as my back up bike as well one to use if I want to travel to a different spot to ride as it folds up and can be hauled in the back of my car.
 

retiredNH

Active Member
Region
USA
Depends on where you want to ride and your riding style. Do you want to sit back and let the bike do the work? Then a class 2 bike with a throttle is what you want. Get exercise with a boost? Pedal assist bikes. Riding in a city, with few hills? The cheaper hub drive bikes may fill the bill. Riding in the countryside with rolling hills? Consider a mid drive, since they climb better, by and large (flamers welcome on this point!)

I know what you mean about leg swing over the seat. Fortunately this can be addressed, either with a step through frame or a dropper seat post. My ebike is a semi step through, with Trek's stagger frame configuration.

Yes, cost is an issue. I had sticker shock when I first shopped late winter this year. But ultimately, I viewed it as an investment in health, since bike riding is one f the best ways to get exercise. We live in a hilly rural area. For example, yesterday we rode to the next town for lunch. 14 miles RT, with a 900 foot climb on the way back. You need a good drive system to handle climbs like that, a more expensive mid drive, not a low cost hub drive. At my age, a few years older than you, sustained torque is important, so we ultimately bought trek Allants, which are expensive, but which will last many years.
 

Alaskan

Well-Known Member
Depends on where you want to ride and your riding style. Do you want to sit back and let the bike do the work? Then a class 2 bike with a throttle is what you want. Get exercise with a boost? Pedal assist bikes. Riding in a city, with few hills? The cheaper hub drive bikes may fill the bill. Riding in the countryside with rolling hills? Consider a mid drive, since they climb better, by and large (flamers welcome on this point!)

I know what you mean about leg swing over the seat. Fortunately this can be addressed, either with a step through frame or a dropper seat post. My ebike is a semi step through, with Trek's stagger frame configuration.

Yes, cost is an issue. I had sticker shock when I first shopped late winter this year. But ultimately, I viewed it as an investment in health, since bike riding is one f the best ways to get exercise. We live in a hilly rural area. For example, yesterday we rode to the next town for lunch. 14 miles RT, with a 900 foot climb on the way back. You need a good drive system to handle climbs like that, a more expensive mid drive, not a low cost hub drive. At my age, a few years older than you, sustained torque is important, so we ultimately bought trek Allants, which are expensive, but which will last many years.
Concise, nicely summed up discussion of the options.

My stock response to this question is considerable more verbose:

Much of the advice you get on forums is not in your interest. Many are trying to justify their own choices by urging you to buy what they bought. Whatever you do, don't listen to anyone who tells you not to listen to the advice of others...Hah, I guess that eliminates me ;)

The best thing you can do is be as precise as you can about how often and under what conditions you think you are going to ride. This will help a knowledgeable dealer guide you to a bike that will serve you best.

If you are like most of us you will ride your ebike more often and further than you ever imagined possible. Spending more money on a better built, safer, more reliable bike will be one of the best decisions you ever made. And I suspect I am not alone in that once I got going with my first ebike, I discovered latent capabilities within myself that lead down the road to longer. more athletic, endurance riding, something that never occurred to me going into it. Buying a better, more versatile bike at first kept me riding longer till I could afford the kind of bike that I eventually learned would be right for me. That process took over a year.

Add a grain of salt to the advice you get here. Some of it can be quite good and well informed but there are occasionally shills hiding in the corners, promoting their new brand. And then there is the fact that individuals riders often exhibit confirmation bias in their comments just wanting you to give them affirmation for their choices.

Do it your self/retrofit guys can't imagine why someone would spend good money on a manufactured bike from the ground up ebike. Fans of low priced, Chinese made, hub motor bikes would not be caught dead on center drive bikes. Fans of German made equipment really don't hardly bother looking at bikes from other countries. Some people will never even look at a bike without a throttle, while other would never have a bike with one. Fans of a particular brand will insist the one they chose is the only one to buy.

If you are like most riders, you are not a mechanic, don't have the know how, tools, time or interest in converting a bike to an ebike or maintaining your production bike. Some of us live for this stuff others just want to ride. Most will need help from a local bike shop. Don't expect people at that shop to care about keeping your bike running smoothly if you bought a bike on line.

The only support you will get from an on line seller, if you are lucky, is phone help to diagnose the problem and they send you parts to replace yourself or you will pay a local shop to replace for you.

If you decide that building out an ebike is not for you, it is likely best to spend a little more and have a dedicated local shop standing behind the sale in who's interest it is to keep you happy and rolling along.

The most common comment I have heard from new ebike owners is almost always something like: "I never imagined I would be riding a bike this often or this far" Buying a cheaper, mass produced bike may or may not give you the same quality of "whoopee!!" experience that boosts you right into an enthusiastic embrace of ebiking.

All too often people who buy lesser bikes seem to arrive at regrets sooner because the bike's inherent limitations just never quite enabled it to do what they want. Personally I ended up spending way more than I initially thought I would or should. Given how much time I now spend on my bike, something I never could have imagined, I am glad I spent what I did and got a bike I can count on, that enhances my enjoyment every time I ride it.

My advice: Make an honest assessment as to how you will be riding, road or trails, easy grades or mountain trails, commuting, exercise/fitness or touring. Take your time but don't get bogged down in research paralysis. Test ride lots of bikes until you find the one that puts the biggest grin on your face and the people selling it you like the best. Then, if you can possibly afford it, pay more than you first thought you were willing to spend. The pain of paying out some more money wears off quickly. The joy of riding a bike that really suits you will endure long into the future every time you saddle up.
 

ElevenAD

Well-Known Member
I only buy online bikes for one main reason and that is i like highpower bikes and you generally wont find them at a LBS. The downside is you give up some CS, you cant just run the bike back down to the shop if something happens, not saying its always that cut and dry when dealing with an LBS but generally they will service what they sell until the warranty is up whereas with an online shop you will have to communicate via E-Mail and then get your hands dirty installing whatever part needed replacing. If i was someone who was not concerned with power i would just buy a Euro bike from an LBS, at least you can sometimes test ride the bike before you buy!
 

Merle Nelson

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
"Best ebike to buy..."

One that you have ridden and know it meets your needs - in my opinion.

After step through design another way to get easier mounting of the bike is with a "dropper" seat post having been added as an aftermarket add on. (I believe.)
 

Timpo

Well-Known Member
My wife and I enjoy riding our bikes, but we are finding we can't do as much peddling as we us to. I'm unable to swing my leg over the seat to get on anymore. We are in our late 60's with health issues. We thought an ebike might be the answer. Most of the ebikes I've looked at around the Atlanta, Ga area are expensive. Trying to decide on buying from a bikes shop or ordering online. Need some insight on what would be the best ebikes for us to buy.
what's your budget?
 

Timpo

Well-Known Member
Here are some popular option

 

john peck

Well-Known Member
The Aventon above is a good choice.You might look at the Blix Vika+, step-thru, plenty of power,
not as cumbersome as some other folders, & as much range as you´ll probably ever need. The
most affordable step-thu with good power & great range could be the NCM milano.
 
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camperholland

New Member
Region
USA
Buying off the internet and there are no dealers within 60 miles of doesn't make good sense to me. I talked to several bike shops around Atlanta they only work on ebike brands they carry. so it seems like I need to stay with ebikes sold local. The problem witch one. The Pedego and Electric Bike Company look good. They both are priced about the same. Problem is its about twice what I wanted to spend. Any suggestions?
 

Timpo

Well-Known Member
Buying off the internet and there are no dealers within 60 miles of doesn't make good sense to me. I talked to several bike shops around Atlanta they only work on ebike brands they carry. so it seems like I need to stay with ebikes sold local. The problem witch one. The Pedego and Electric Bike Company look good. They both are priced about the same. Problem is its about twice what I wanted to spend. Any suggestions?
This topic has been beaten to death all over EBR.
Basically, LBS (local bike shop) are refusing to work on any ebike that's purchased on internet, or anywhere else.
I have taken my ebikes to a few LBS, and they (politely) told me to go away.

Obviously internet ebikes have advantage over LBS, they can set the price significantly lower than ebikes you purchase from LBS because they don't have the same overhead cost.
If you look at the specs (motor power, battery capacity, components, etc.) it's obvious that internet ebikes have much better bang for buck.

However, by LBS refusing to work on internet ebikes, people who purchased ebikes from LBS get this piece of mind on warranty work, regular maintenance, customer service, etc. So LBS customers can get this exclusive service of taking your bike back to your local shop to get checked up.

It makes sense, LBS are business and they need to pay their bills and survive. This is how they responded, this is their way of competing against internet.
For me, I'm a budget conscious buyer, I bought ebikes off internet. Yes, I have to play this email tag over ebike companies and hopefully they will send me parts (I have to record video, take pictures, etc. because they always ask me to verify what I'm claiming is true), and I have to do all the warranty work by myself (if they agree to send me the replacement for faulty parts).

So yes, as you mentioned, you will end up paying twice at LBS for similar spec ebike over internet.
However, it's all up to you. I know many people who bought bike over LBS because of peace of mind and customer service.
But for me, I just buy cheap ebikes over internet, though, because I had to do everything by myself, I ended up learning quite a bit about ebike repair.

Pedego for example, is quite expensive. However, they're very well known for their customer service, not cheap price. And many people are happy to pay that.
 

ephemere

Member
Region
USA
City
Bay Area, CA
Buying off the internet and there are no dealers within 60 miles of doesn't make good sense to me. I talked to several bike shops around Atlanta they only work on ebike brands they carry. so it seems like I need to stay with ebikes sold local. The problem witch one. The Pedego and Electric Bike Company look good. They both are priced about the same. Problem is its about twice what I wanted to spend. Any suggestions?
The REI Co-op e2.1 ($1800) and e2.2 ($2160) appear to be quality bikes (Shimano motor system), available locally (REI Atlanta), and with a great return policy. These prices include 10% member discount. However, they are not step-thru so may be a non-starter for you. But if you both happen to be size small, it has a different geometry with a much lower top tube that may work for you.
 

AHicks

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Snow Bird - Summer S.E. Michigan, Winter Gulf Coast North Central Fl.
An option not brought up yet, which may make a lot of sense, and is very easily checked out. A mobile bike service. They generally work on anything. The most popular is nationally franchised - VeloFix. You mentioned Atlanta - and they have a guy available - https://www.velofix.com/locations/atlanta/

They generally will take care of anything you need done. This could be a simple tune up, to an arrangement where you have your "internet purchased" bike sent to them, they assemble it and check it out, then deliver it to your front door.....
 

GenXrider

Well-Known Member
Here are some popular option

The 700 is a great choice. I bought one of those a few months ago. I prefer the the customizable PAS, tires, and higher top gear over the Aventon. Aventon is better for sizes and some LBS's that sell them in different areas.

I do my own service and never even asked the nearest LBS if they would work on it, which is 45 minutes or so away. There's a local guy that does bike repairs on the side and his friend gave me a business card, but I'm not sure I'll ever have a need to use him. Various people have posted about their local LBS's working on the bikes - your mileage will vary, of course.
 

Dewey

Well-Known Member
Various people have posted about their local LBS's working on the bikes
For my DIY ebike my local bike shop who is a Giant & Breezer dealer sold me the bike I converted and does work on the bicycle components, but will not work on the electrical side. They have helped me by building wheels, installing brakes, doing tune ups, they made the motor chainring work with the bike's gearing, etc. If anything goes wrong with the electrics I troubleshoot display error codes or use a multimeter to test current at the connections until I localize the problem, and contact my motor or battery suppliers to order parts as needed. Or as others have already suggested you can buy from a bike shop, Velofix, or a retailer like REI who will do all the maintenance work.
 

retiredNH

Active Member
Region
USA
For my DIY ebike my local bike shop who is a Giant & Breezer dealer sold me the bike I converted and does work on the bicycle components, but will not work on the electrical side. They have helped me by building wheels, installing brakes, doing tune ups, they made the motor chainring work with the bike's gearing, etc. If anything goes wrong with the electrics I troubleshoot display error codes or use a multimeter to test current at the connections until I localize the problem, and contact my motor or battery suppliers to order parts as needed. Or as others have already suggested you can buy from a bike shop, Velofix, or a retailer like REI who will do all the maintenance work.
Do DIY bikes need that much maintenance, especially electrical? How long have you had your bike?