Picking ebike for short rider, lots of pics and data may help

Bee

New Member
Region
USA
City
Portland, Oregon
Hi, everyone! EBR was such a great resource in helping us pick the right ebike for my short/round partner, and the process left me with a spreadsheet full of picture and data she used to find the best options for her. So, I want to "give back" to all of you, with my heartfelt thanks, by sharing the spreadsheet and some notes on how you might use it to find the right ebike for the short rider in your life! Before I go on, let me say, while I am very well informed regarding bikes (was a mechanic and racer in early life), ebikes are new for us, so there may be some naive statements and I will not claim everything here is 100% verified or correct, but certainly, it's a good effort and you can change anything you like in your own copy.

Here you go: eBikes for short . Note that I've set this URL to anyone can access but read-only. To make changes, you would simply save this to a local file for yourself and then modify that.

An explanation of what some things mean:
  • Background colors: Generally, Red = "problem", Yellow= "may be a problem", White = "OK", Green = "Good" and Blue = "Best in class"
  • In the Make/Model column, a light green background means we did a test ride on this one. These should mostly be hyperlinks that will take you to a manufacturer's page where possible, or a secondary page from a dealer or reviewer otherwise. Just click it to go to the site.
  • For us, "Comfort" means an upright riding position, padded saddle, handlebars swept back at least to the stem. "City" means a forward position, lightweight saddle, handlebars forward of the stem. "Cruiser" means a very relaxed to upright position, padded saddle and handlebars swept back beyond the stem.
  • Geometry: priorities for us were making sure she could reach the handlebars with elbows appropriately bent, reach the pedals with knee appropriately bent and not hyper-extended, stand over the bike safely when stopped or in emergencies, and get up onto the saddle safely without falling. Where possible, numbers were taken from geometry given at the manufacturer's website; however, in some cases they were not available there and I either got them here, at other sites/reviews, or even by downloading their 2-D diagrams and making measurements based on the ratio of measured to actual length on a major part of the bike, usually the seat tube or minimum seat height. Her inseam is 27", reach 21", height 4'11", so this guided our determination of what would fit and would not prior to test riding. Step is Ultra-Low if standover is less <=10", Low if < 19", Mid if <=26". You can certainly change these to match your riders target geometry and comfort (may depend on their flexibility or motor impairment, if present).
  • Weight is important to us, not only for carrying and riding, but for the potential momentum and impact in a wreck. We wanted an ebike not TOO much heavier than a regular, steel frame bike of similar size. I don't think we achieved that perfectly. Everything is a compromise.
  • Pedal Assist: PAS = pedal assist, TO = throttle only available (class 2), OB = motor off during braking, WAS = Walk Assist mode
  • Tire Brand: I gave green to tires I knew well, like Schwalbe Big Apple that provide great ride and puncture protection. I highlighted in yellow tires I'd have to replace if buying this bike.
  • Gears: Green is a known quality manufacturer like Shimano or Microsoft, even if lower end, but not bottom end (like Shimano SIS, IMHO). Yellow is one at least I can not say is a good and might have to upgrade.
  • Throttle: Added this because I believe that a full length, or even half-length twist throttle is a safety risk for accidental throttle when climbing curbs, mounting the bike or during a wreck or emergency.
  • Brakes: Known manufacturers like Shimano, Tektro, Magura are green, lesser brands yellow, and v-brakes I treat as a serious no-no for safety on anything other than a bike that doesn't go more than 15-16mph.
  • Display: Need to be able to see it at night, so either backlit LCD or LED. USB port a big plus, as well as app integration/bluetooth, and hi-vis color.
  • Lights, fenders, rack, kickstand are noted as integrated when they at least appear to be part of the frame or custom for the bike (lights integrated into the main battery and display). Included means a 3rd party component added that does not integrate with any other bike functions. For fenders, this can be the difference between painted/matching and non-matching.
  • Chainguard: included this because it would be a difficult aftermarket add in some cases and nobody wants to be covered with grease, especially typical when walking the bike, lifting it into a rack, etc... .
  • Price/Adj. Cost: Manufacturer's list if given and total cost of ownership, including $200 for things like helmet and lock, but then cost of items (usually in yellow) that we considered necessary but were not included or integrated.
  • Recommendation: My notes for her to review, to help her set a rating for the bike.
  • Rating: Any number she wanted to use that would be used as the primary sort key on the spreadsheet, so that we would always have a list of the best bikes to buy, but also the bikes most important to test ride.
Currently, the spreadsheet is sorted by her rating first, then Step, then Type to allow easy comparison of similar bikes of similar ratings, then Cost so we have a good picture of true cost comparison, and then by Make/Model. I also would filter out ratings of 2 or less to make reading it easier and you can do that if you like, it's not turned on in this version.

I hope this helps someone! If you need any help working with it, post here and I hope that means I'll get a notification so I can respond. I'll do whatever I can.

Best wishes and lots of thanks for all the help from EBR and the EBR community in choosing her eBike! - Bee
 

LimboJim

Well-Known Member
Wow Bee, that's thorough! I often try to help folks sort through the myriad of choices in the ebike world, but surprisingly have yet to help a short rider (under 5'4"). This could help them a lot if/when I do...

Regarding the warranty column, however, and have to ask - does this refer to motor/battery or bicycle components?

I believe that Bosch,* Shimano,* Brose,* Yamaha** and other "mainstream" motor companies cover their motors and batteries (when applicable) through the bike companies (not end consumers), but several smaller bike makers I've asked say they cover batteries and motors themselves. Many other such companies' sites that I've examined but couldn't get a response from have vague or even nonexistent warranty coverage specifics listed.

There are only a few bikes on your list from "major" brands, but right now I'm looking at the Marin Sausalito in row 35. It has a Shimano STePS system, which has 2 years of warranty coverage, but your spreadsheet shows 1 year, which I believe is the component coverage. Again, Shimano covers all of its ebike equipment for 2 years.

There are also a couple of Giant Liv models listed with 1 year warranties, which again is Giant's coverage for bike parts. Giant's own warranty page appears to omit ebike parts altogether, but I found a dealer who spells Giant's ebike coverage out specifically - 2 years on battery, motor, display etc.

I hope this doesn't come off as too nitpicky, but I know warranties are very important to a lot of ebike consumers. And I'm a stickler for details and accuracy when it comes to ebikes, so I've done some minor edits to my copy of your marvelous spreadsheet 🤓

* Two year warranties, though Specialized doubled coverage for 2019-20 models with its "Turbo 1.x" version of the Brose S motor
**Three years, though Giant's "SyncDrive" version of Yamaha motors come with 2 years 🤔
 

Bee

New Member
Region
USA
City
Portland, Oregon
Not at all picky! This is exactly what I was trying to say, that not everything is for sure exactly correct. On warranty, I only went to the warranty page on each bike manufacturer's own site and did not consider there might be separate warranties beyond components and frame, as you mention relating to the better motors. Great point! You seem to know this area super well. If you wanted to post an updated version, I think that would be great!

Interesting what you say about "major" brands. I thought I caught most of the top line ebike makers, but yes, Specialized and a few others were outside our budget limit or $4000, so I skipped them. Again, awesome opportunity to add more, if you want? If others said this spreadsheet was of value, then were you to mention bikes you think I should add, I'd be glad to do some of that.

We got a Cube Town Sport, BTW. We just did a short 20 mile circuit from Portland to Oregon City via the Trolley Trail, her first real ride in over 30 years... and she LOVED it! We're looking forward to our next ride (which makes me so happy!). Best wishes, Bee
 

SueL

New Member
Region
USA
Just got the first pics of my Happy Bike that was customized for 5’ tall me! Should get it early next week.
 

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SueL

New Member
Region
USA
Batteries pack is very dangerous underneath butt chops. You will be ejected out of the saddle hyper fast. If the Mlrs time alarms set on. Get off the saddle. Stand the bike using kick stand/parking stand.

I no like bike with Batteries pack underneath my butt.
I was going to get the Magnum Premium 2…it’s the same, but taller. What is an Mlrs time alarm?
 

Bee

New Member
Region
USA
City
Portland, Oregon
Ah, yes, this is a style we were very interested in, but could not find a test ride near us at least before she found one that made here drool ;)

I don't agree with the commenter you replied to. What matters is weight distribution. As those of u who have used pannier racks for decades (and those before us for decades more), what is really problematic is having your center of balance too high or unbalanced side-to-side. You do have a big battery and yes, it might be better under the frame, but it's a lot better than a rack-mounted battery, IMHO. Further, your bike has a nice springy looking saddle, a front suspension and fat tires, which can really help. The fat tires weigh a good bit and, when spinning, create a lot of centrifugal force, which will further stabilize you under way. If you use a pannier bag, placing weight low in the bags will help stabilize your CG even more.
 

SueL

New Member
Region
USA
Ah, yes, this is a style we were very interested in, but could not find a test ride near us at least before she found one that made here drool ;)

I don't agree with the commenter you replied to. What matters is weight distribution. As those of u who have used pannier racks for decades (and those before us for decades more), what is really problematic is having your center of balance too high or unbalanced side-to-side. You do have a big battery and yes, it might be better under the frame, but it's a lot better than a rack-mounted battery, IMHO. Further, your bike has a nice springy looking saddle, a front suspension and fat tires, which can really help. The fat tires weigh a good bit and, when spinning, create a lot of centrifugal force, which will further stabilize you under way. If you use a pannier bag, placing weight low in the bags will help stabilize your CG even more.
Thank you for your comment! Makes me feel better. I was not able to test drive this one either, as they are in California and I’m in Nebraska, but I really wanted to be sure it would fit me! I tried a Magnum Pathfinder and a BlixVika+, and both felt a little too big. This dealer was willing to customize it for me, so he got my business! It was kind of pricey, but hopefully having it fit properly will make it worth it!