Picking an ebike

Dewey

Well-Known Member
Do DIY bikes need that much maintenance, especially electrical? How long have you had your bike?
I've owned my BBS01 kit for 5 years, in that time on the electrical side I rode without a throttle for the first year then decided to fit it, I've replaced the controller twice the first time due to blown mosfets, the second time due to a detached cable (it rode good but I missed my display readout until I replaced it), replaced the wheel speed sensor twice after breaking it, swapped the ebrake handles to ebrake sensors so I could use different brake handles, replaced the power connectors twice first I soldered XT90's then switched to crimped-on Anderson's so I could install Grin Tech's Anderson tap to power ebike lights off the main battery pack and just recently added inline a step-down buck convertor to provide a 5v power supply to a camera, after 5 years use I'm about to replace the 36v battery with a pack from another brand. The list of mechanical changes is longer, I swapped the kit to a different bike 3 years ago.
 
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AHicks

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Snow Bird - Summer S.E. Michigan, Winter Gulf Coast North Central Fl.
Do DIY bikes need that much maintenance, especially electrical? How long have you had your bike?
I think the answer to this question is going to depend on the builder, and more bluntly, the skill/workmmanship of the person assembling the bike. I know for a fact they can be built where maintenance requirements can be on par with any production bike. Then again, I've seen some bailing wire specials that look like an accident looking for a place to happen.... :)
 

retiredNH

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
I've owned my BBS01 kit for 5 years, in that time on the electrical side I rode without a throttle for the first year then decided to fit it, I've replaced the controller twice the first time due to blown mosfets, the second time due to a detached cable (it rode good but I missed my display readout until I replaced it), replaced the wheel speed sensor twice after breaking it, swapped the ebrake handles to ebrake sensors so I could use different brake handles, replaced the power connectors twice first I soldered XT90's then switched to crimped-on Anderson's so I could install Grin Tech's Anderson tap to power ebike lights off the main battery pack and just recently added inline a step-down buck convertor to provide a 5v power supply to a camera, after 5 years use I'm about to replace the 36v battery with a pack from another brand. The list of mechanical changes is longer, I swapped the kit to a different bike 3 years ago.
Doesn't sound too bad given a 5 year period. I suspect bike activities are tough on electronics, especially the obvious failure point of connectors, and because ebikes are relatively new. Cars have had over 100 years to evolve and be debugged, ebikes not so much!
 

john peck

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?
Whatever you buy, familiarize yourself as much you can with the bike & how things work. There´s are
loads on online tutorials that can help you in any situation that may arise. Put together a basic tool kit,
& stay ahead of normal maintenance. It will enhance the experience. With no nearby shop, learn the
skills for yourself.
 

Gordon71

Well-Known Member
Whatever you buy, familiarize yourself as much you can with the bike & how things work. There´s are
loads on online tutorials that can help you in any situation that may arise. Put together a basic tool kit,
& stay ahead of normal maintenance. It will enhance the experience. With no nearby shop, learn the
skills for yourself.
In my case learning to do for myself was the ONLY choice. It was the spring of 2020 when I decided to get my first Ebike. The only shop that sold them within more than 200 miles of me was Pedego about 45 miles away and they were closed due to covid. Rad had a single Rover ST in stock at that time so that's the one I chose. 0 problems with it since (about 2700 miles now) other than normal stuff wearing out like brake pads and now the chain. Got lots of help both here and online videos from Rad and Park and so far so good with all repairs and maintenance. So far I've had to remove the rear wheel to repair a flat at 600 miles. Added a Mr Tuffy liner and slimed both tires and no flats since. Periodically cleaned the chain and adjusted the brakes. Replaced the brake pads at 2,000 miles. Now need to replace the chain which is supposed to arrive today from Amazon along with the needed tools. I've watched the Park video on chain replacement which seems relatively easy and will refer back to it as I do the job.
 

john peck

Well-Known Member
Nice having a bike that´s relatively trouble free, with my bike the only real issue stemmed from tires.
The stock tires were comfy to ride, but had flimsy sidewalls that bottomed out on bumps & potholes &
were easily punctured. This also resulted in busted spokes. Once I found something with beefy sidewalls
& higher PSI, it´s been trouble free. Turned 3800 mi today. I was not so fortunate with my 1st ebike that
cost more than twice as much & suffered assorted maladies due to ´unproven innovations´. My advice,
get something that´s a real bike first, then has a motor. So many ´innovations´ are really planned
obsolescence.
 

camperholland

New Member
Region
USA
Thanks to everyone for there input. I have decided to buy on internet. I'm looking at the RadCity Step-Thru V3 at $1599.00 with
direct drive and Aventon Level Step-Thru Commuter for $1699.00. Now need everyone's opinion on each bike.
 

Dewey

Well-Known Member
Ride1Up 700 ST or the Aventon Level step-through are essentially the same bike, the advantage of the Aventon is it’s sold in bike shops as well as online. RadCity would be OK if you’re in a relatively flat area, the 40nm torque of the direct drive motor isn’t going to be as helpful up hills as a geared hub motor
 

John from Connecticut

Well-Known Member
Thanks to everyone for there input. I have decided to buy on internet. I'm looking at the RadCity Step-Thru V3 at $1599.00 with
direct drive and Aventon Level Step-Thru Commuter for $1699.00. Now need everyone's opinion on each bike.
Since you've narrowed your choice down to two bikes that's good. If you're going do any and all repairs if necessary
great, if you're going to depend on a LBS Local Bike Shop I'd find a shop that will absolutely support the bike
of your choice before purchasing.

Shops that won't support Internet Bikes aren't for the most part not trying to be difficult. The simple matter is it's
nearly impossible right now to get parts etc for branded bikes sold in a shop, never mind a brand that the LBS
has no business connection with.

Will you be riding on level or hilly roads / trails ? Both bikes have hub motors which perform best on flatter
roads and trails. Both bikes have throttles. Have you ever ridden a bike with a throttle ? Throttles can take a
bit of getting used to for safety sake.

Good luck,
John
 

camperholland

New Member
Region
USA
Since you've narrowed your choice down to two bikes that's good. If you're going do any and all repairs if necessary
great, if you're going to depend on a LBS Local Bike Shop I'd find a shop that will absolutely support the bike
of your choice before purchasing.

Shops that won't support Internet Bikes aren't for the most part not trying to be difficult. The simple matter is it's
nearly impossible right now to get parts etc for branded bikes sold in a shop, never mind a brand that the LBS
has no business connection with.

Will you be riding on level or hilly roads / trails ? Both bikes have hub motors which perform best on flatter
roads and trails. Both bikes have throttles. Have you ever ridden a bike with a throttle ? Throttles can take a
bit of getting used to for safety sake.

Good luck,
John
Never rode an ebike. Due to my age and health I can't do all the peddling anymore. Mostly riding on hard surface with a few hills. Probably done most repair myself. Bike shops around here only work on brands they carry. Got to figure out if I want twist or thumb throttle.
 

Gordon71

Well-Known Member
Never rode an ebike. Due to my age and health I can't do all the peddling anymore. Mostly riding on hard surface with a few hills. Probably done most repair myself. Bike shops around here only work on brands they carry. Got to figure out if I want twist or thumb throttle.
I doubt you'll have any problem with a throttle. I'd never ridden an Ebike before my Rad Rover which has a twist throttle which is very smooth. In truth I only use/need it to get rolling from a dead stop. Just a second or two to get going and then pedal. Right now the Rad Mini is on sale for $1299. I just got one a few days ago and like it. It has the geared hub motor with 80nm and does very well on hills. There are adapters on Ebay that allow you to use your thumb to activate the throttle which I find easier than twisting it. I'm 72 years old.
 

GenXrider

Well-Known Member
Thanks to everyone for there input. I have decided to buy on internet. I'm looking at the RadCity Step-Thru V3 at $1599.00 with
direct drive and Aventon Level Step-Thru Commuter for $1699.00. Now need everyone's opinion on each bike.
If you're looking at the Aventon for buying on the internet, you should consider a Ride1Up 700 unless you're really short and need a smaller frame. It's very similar, but the Ride1Up 700 has a much better fully customizable PAS system (for ranges as well as granular control of each power percentage of each level), a little bit wider tires, and a little bit higher top gear. I have a 700 - no regrets. I really like the fully configurable PAS system. Throttle works from a stop in any PAS level, including 0, and will assist to 28 mph with throttle only with a well charged battery.

On a bike, be sure to pedal, not peddle.
 

AHicks

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Snow Bird - Summer S.E. Michigan, Winter Gulf Coast North Central Fl.
Thanks to everyone for there input. I have decided to buy on internet. I'm looking at the RadCity Step-Thru V3 at $1599.00 with
direct drive and Aventon Level Step-Thru Commuter for $1699.00. Now need everyone's opinion on each bike.
I have the RAD City bike (many miles since 2017) but had issues with the amount of power available from the direct drive motor it came with. While adequate for many who never really need to deal with much in the way of hills, I found the amount of power from the direct drive inadequate personally. I would also like to mention it is one of the very few e-bikes still using direct drive. Most others have gone with geared hub drives, which are generally much peppier and able to climb hills with more authority. I ended up re-powering mine with an aftermarket geared hub motor when it was only 6 weeks old, but I'm big on DIY projects.

2nd the opinion regarding having a look at the Ride One Up 700 and a few others.

By the way, I'm 70, and if it were not for e-bikes, would be spending much more time sitting on my butt. It took a great big leap of faith for the wife and I when we purchased our first bikes (to justify spending that kind of money), but we've found we're using them almost daily since. 5 years later, it's now very easy to justify the money spent because we are using them so much. Enough where those original bikes have both been replaced a couple of times now - for bikes that suit our purposes more closely. In our case, and MANY more other people seem to support the fact e-bikes are real game changers, if for no other reason than getting others off their butts as well. -Al
 

camperholland

New Member
Region
USA
I'm now having questions about the motor. Direct Drive or Geared? Will be riding on mostly hard surface. Might find a hill or two at 1 1/2 to 2% grade. I'm 68 and 215lbs. so I want to be sure that the ebike will get me from point A to Point B with no problem. Will be using throttle good bit.
 

AHicks

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Snow Bird - Summer S.E. Michigan, Winter Gulf Coast North Central Fl.
Now is a good time to be asking about direct vs. geared hub drives.

Regarding the article above, many solid points. The only point I would really question is the comment regarding wear on the geared hub motors. From what I've seen, wear has NOT been an issue on motors that have not been abused. The nylon gears that concern some are MUCH more likely to be melted by an overheated motor (abuse) than they are to wear out.
 

Elkman

Active Member
Decide whether you want fenders or not and whether it is important to be able to remove the battery for charging and how heavy a bike you want to have and your list will become very short. Also local support is important as problems do arise with bicycles and more so with ones with a battery pack, motor, and controller.

If you ride only from the house the weight is less important but if you plan to put two e-bikes on a bike rack then the weight of the bikes is very important. Many racks will support at most 120 lbs or two 60 lb e-bikes. Some like the Thule have a ramp for loading but that is the exception as far as e-bike racks that are currently available from Swagman, Hollywood, Thule, and Yakima that support heavy e-bikes.

There are true step-through designs that are the best way to go based on your situation. The semi-step through are not likely to be a good solution as the step over height is still going to require you to swing your leg over the seat to get completely off the bike.

Warranties also vary from 1 year to 3 years and one pays more for a lighter bike or one with more power and not for added reliability - at this point in time. Motors are changing year to year so customers are in many ways beta testers for the manufacturers of the components.

Unfortunately there is no single source for the information you will want to have and I myself have spent many hours going to manufacturers' websites and trying to get warranty information and weights and motor drive specifications and for whatever reason this is nearly always being obscured. Considering that people are paying $3,000 to over $10,000 for an e-bike the amount of information one can get online is pathetic. If you have a reputable e-bike dealer in your vicinity it may be a good place to start.
 

JenniferA

New Member
Region
USA
One last suggestion before you buy online. There are several REI stores in the Atlanta area and their Co-Op brand bikes are in your price range and have Shimano drive systems. I don’t own one or have any affiliation with REI, by the way, but I have read some positive reviews which say you get a good value in a bike that has local support. At least in my area the stores have bikes in stock you can test ride, which is helpful.