Prospective Ebike owner

aschrad

New Member
Hi everyone, I join you all from Calgary Alberta under bittersweet circumstances. I had just started looking at ebikes after coming across an Indigogo campaign for the "Babymaker" but was not really seriously considering anything for probably the next couple of years. Then low and behold I discovered that my current bike was stolen right from my backyard :( I had just pulled it out from storage to maintain it and hook up my Thule Chariot for a first ride with my 2 year old. Now of course I am bike-less and distraught. So now I have plummeted down the rabbit hole of ebike research and am pretty sold that it will be the direction I go. It is proving much more difficult to narrow down than I expected, there are so many smaller online players out there and reviews seem to be overwhelmingly positive of neutral on most fronts. My initial budget I was hoping to adhere to was $1500 - $2000 CDN but with the research I have done thus far, there just seems to be a whole lot more in the $2000-$3000 range. So I am looking for some input on all of your thoughts. My hope is that I will start to bike a whole lot more and commute to work more often. I used to ride basically everyday when I lived downtown rain/snow/or shine, but that was pretty much main roads and bike lanes for a 15-20min ride. I have since moved out to the suburbs and on top of one of the highest points in town which means a very long steady uphill climb for 1/3 of the journey. This is has pretty much eliminated me biking to work at all. But now that I have discovered ebikes, this seems like something that might entice me to hop on the bike again. So this bike will likely only be used in the spring and summer months and stored outside, covered and protected, for the cold winters. I need to be able to attach a child trailer, Chariot Cougar 2 to it.
Upon my early research I think I have narrowed down my search to a few brands:
RadCity 4 - $1999 CAD Free Shipping
Seems to be right in the wheelhouse budget wise, and generally well reviewed. Shipped from one province over, so if any real issues come up, shipping back and forth wont be too bad. No local dealers, but I am confident I can find a bike shop who can work on it, and I am pretty competent myself with some direction.

Voltbike Bravo - $1899 - $49 Shipping -Pretty much the same story as RadCity
Voltbike Elegant - 1899 - Essentially the same?

ENVO D35 2020 by ebikebc - $2479 - Seems very intriguing, but is the only one I can't find any info on outside of the manufacturers own website which gives me pause. Not reviewed by Court which also feels odd with the hundreds of reviews he has done. And they seem to be using a proprietary motor of their own engineering which is maybe another red flag? I feel like I really want to like this one, but what makes it $400-$500 better than the others and are all those flags enough to look elsewhere?

And then I just added the Surface 604 2020 Colt into the mix - $2599 - Free Shipping - again is this one $600-$700 better than the others?

I don't really have good reason why I narrowed down to these few aside from Canadian suppliers and budget. I have also looked at Ride1Up but just left them out to narrow it down as the only one that comes from USA.

Then if I am willing to look at the $2500 - $3000, should I consider name brands, like Trek, Kona, Giant etc? understanding that this is definitely the lower end of their lines.
I guess the big question there is am I really gaining a whole lot by spending the extra dough up front. I can always upgrade some of the lower quality bike parts on most of these down the line right?

Also if there are any brands I have left off that I really should look at, i'm happy to expand out again.

Any insight from the group is much appreciated, I suspect these will all suit my purposes and I may just have to flip a coin!
Thanks in advance for all of your expertise.
 

aschrad

New Member
Update:
After basically a full day of research I think I am sold on either the RadCity 4 or Surface 604 Colt, with the Colt holding a slight edge because there is actually a dealer in town.
But also torn on saving the $500 and putting it towards accessories on the Rad... Dilemmas Dilemmas
 

Marci jo

Well-Known Member
Aschrad,
Congrats on your search of an ebike. They so much fun to ride.
You mentioned some online companies, does that mean no test rides? Or are some options in your area for that.
And a big “booo” to thief who stole your bike.
 

TMH

Well-Known Member
Sorry to hear about your bike loss.

I will preface by saying that I don't have personal experience with either of the 2 bikes you are now choosing between. I can state that I have been tempted in the past towards Surface 604's offerings as they really seem to have a nicely spec'd product at their reasonable price point. I have also heard little or no complaints or issues with their bikes.

Rad products, OTOH, have never really interested me. Not sure why - maybe it just seems to me that they are built to a price point and show it. Of the folks who buy them some absolutely love them, but I have also seen a fair number of posts saying "never again Rad." Of course this could be skewed a bit since they sell a much larger number of bikes as compared to Surface 604.

I also looked recently at Rad's soon to be released updated cargo bike (RadWagon 4), and some of their design choices don't make sense to me as a customer. Especially relating to their decision to use an in-house custom designed tire, which only they will be able to supply to customers in the (at least near) future.

Get the Colt - it is always nice to have a dealer in town. This will likely not be your last e-bike (but do secure it well!) and it will teach you what ultimately you need or want in your next one. I know that it is already exceeding your original budget, but I would also suggest to pay the upcharge for the larger battery. Buy once, cry once, and get out there enjoying your new e-bike! And I would act pretty soon as we are already hearing too many stories about availability dates pushing out to August and beyond, prices going up, sales numbers up by 600%, etc.
 

aschrad

New Member
Aschrad,
Congrats on your search of an ebike. They so much fun to ride.
You mentioned some online companies, does that mean no test rides? Or are some options in your area for that.
And a big “booo” to thief who stole your bike.
Thanks, I am getting more and more excited at the prospect of having one!
There are some dealers in town but seem to be primarily only selling in the +$3000 range and with the current scenario, aren't allowing test rides. Which is also why I am now leaning towards the Colt, as it is something I can at least put my eyes on before buying.
And yup I certainly hate me a bike thief.
 

aschrad

New Member
Sorry to hear about your bike loss.

I will preface by saying that I don't have personal experience with either of the 2 bikes you are now choosing between. I can state that I have been tempted in the past towards Surface 604's offerings as they really seem to have a nicely spec'd product at their reasonable price point. I have also heard little or no complaints or issues with their bikes.

Rad products, OTOH, have never really interested me. Not sure why - maybe it just seems to me that they are built to a price point and show it. Of the folks who buy them some absolutely love them, but I have also seen a fair number of posts saying "never again Rad." Of course this could be skewed a bit since they sell a much larger number of bikes as compared to Surface 604.

I also looked recently at Rad's soon to be released updated cargo bike (RadWagon 4), and some of their design choices don't make sense to me as a customer. Especially relating to their decision to use an in-house custom designed tire, which only they will be able to supply to customers in the (at least near) future.

Get the Colt - it is always nice to have a dealer in town. This will likely not be your last e-bike (but do secure it well!) and it will teach you what ultimately you need or want in your next one. I know that it is already exceeding your original budget, but I would also suggest to pay the upcharge for the larger battery. Buy once, cry once, and get out there enjoying your new e-bike! And I would act pretty soon as we are already hearing too many stories about availability dates pushing out to August and beyond, prices going up, sales numbers up by 600%, etc.
Thanks for your thoughts. I understand what you mean about the Rad products. I had them high on my list because people seem to really like them, but they just look a little cheap. Maybe from the modular nature, more utility than design perhaps. But the price is right, so they obviously have had some good success. The only Rad that I am remotely interested in is the RadCity 4 design wise.

I think I am essentially sold on the Colt, there are some in stock in town which is a huge bonus as well. Just going to give the Voltbikes one last look I think. Any experience with that company?
That is also the last battle I am fighting as well is whether to get the larger battery, I was leaning towards not.... but maybe the "buy once, cry once" advice will prove wise down the line.
 

Captain Slow

Well-Known Member
If weight is a reason not to get the larger battery that is something to consider. But if it's a cost thing I think you'll find in the long run you're better off with the bigger battery. If you're not that familiar with electric bikes, if you spend enough time here you'll find that conventional wisdom is that to make your battery last longer charge it to 80% of capacity and don't allow it to go below 20%, so you're really using 60% of the battery.

In Calgary you'll want to have the battery inside during winter months so a removable battery will be important in your case.

But out of curiosity, how far is your commute, what elevation gain are we talking, how much do you weigh and how strong a cyclist are you? Also for the different battery options, what are the choices for the batteries?
 

TMH

Well-Known Member
No direct experience with the Voltbikes but I believe they are generally well regarded. Looks like step-over vs step-thru is the difference between the 2 models listed. I prefer a standard diamond frame for its rigidity (allows more of your energy to translate into forward motion without the frame flexing) but some folks just love how easy it is to mount/dismount a step-thru frame (not just while beginning or ending your ride, but also when having to stop for traffic lights during your commute).

Getting the larger battery will result in you having to charge it less often, and batteries have a finite number of charge-discharge cycles. So higher capacity batteries can give a longer overall service life.
 

aschrad

New Member
If weight is a reason not to get the larger battery that is something to consider. But if it's a cost thing I think you'll find in the long run you're better off with the bigger battery. If you're not that familiar with electric bikes, if you spend enough time here you'll find that conventional wisdom is that to make your battery last longer charge it to 80% of capacity and don't allow it to go below 20%, so you're really using 60% of the battery.

In Calgary you'll want to have the battery inside during winter months so a removable battery will be important in your case.

But out of curiosity, how far is your commute, what elevation gain are we talking, how much do you weigh and how strong a cyclist are you? Also for the different battery options, what are the choices for the batteries?
Yeah all good points. I don't think weight is a huge concern for me, most lifting I would do, would be into the back of the truck.
And yes removable battery is key for sure during the winter months.

My commute is about 12km one way, with an elevation gain of about 500' from work to home, so not subtle. I am about 220lbs and was previously a fairly strong cyclist. 2 kids has put a hold on that. But after a month or 2 of climbing that hill my skills would quickly return I'm guessing.
Battery options are 48v 10.4 AH stock or 48v 14AH for $200 extra.
 

Captain Slow

Well-Known Member
I used to ride a lot when I was younger then took many years off and lost my fitness. When I was 44 I started commuting to work by bike and I had two young kids in daycare at the time. I got the electric bike to ensure consistent times to and from work as well as help with the distance which is 18 km's for me. Elevation gain is about 130 metres or around 400 feet each way due to the terrain. I weighed about 185-190 lbs. when I started the commute.

The electric bike was great and in the beginning I couldn't do the ride without it. I almost certainly would have gotten cramps and not been able to ride the whole way. But I rode regularly and no surprise I got fitter and stronger. I lost weight and I'd say within about 4-8 weeks on some days I was riding my cyclocross bike for commuting. It was a bit slower and I couldn't ride that bike every day because I'd get too tired. So a combination of electric and cross bike.

Years later and the kids are out of daycare so I can go slower if I want to and it's not a big deal to take an extra 10 minutes to get home. My weight (dietary changes as well) is now about 162 lbs. This is after years of regular cycle commuting. I no longer require an electric bike, but I still use one because it's fun.

Sorry for the long story but it's my round about way of saying I think your situation sounds similar to mine. I think you'll regain fitness quickly and that the 10.4 ah battery would get the job done for you no problem. However, if it were me I'd still go for the 14 ah battery because I just think the battery will last longer and you'll get more use out of the bike. I often use an electric bike to go grocery shopping or run errands and I just like to have the piece of mind of a bigger battery.

Up to you as the smaller battery will likely be more than adequate, but I'd recommend the bigger battery. But everyone's budget is different.

Once you start riding regularly again I think you'll be surprised at how little of a difference the electric bike will make in your time vs. a regular bike. If it's 12 km's I'm guessing you'll probably see a difference of about 5-8 minutes at the most. But the electric will allow you do it every day. Well at least for me that is the big difference. Riding to work every day instead of 3 or 4 days a week.
 

Timpo

Well-Known Member
No direct experience with the Voltbikes but I believe they are generally well regarded. Looks like step-over vs step-thru is the difference between the 2 models listed. I prefer a standard diamond frame for its rigidity (allows more of your energy to translate into forward motion without the frame flexing) but some folks just love how easy it is to mount/dismount a step-thru frame (not just while beginning or ending your ride, but also when having to stop for traffic lights during your commute).

Getting the larger battery will result in you having to charge it less often, and batteries have a finite number of charge-discharge cycles. So higher capacity batteries can give a longer overall service life.
I know a few people who had direct experience with Voltbikes.

Nice bike, very disorganized company.

They always take too long to deliver, I'm talking about 1 month to 2 months. (Before Covid 19 pandemic)
And they usually advertise that the bike will be ready shipped in 5 days or something.

If you call them, they still answer the phone.. and people working at Volt are apparently friendly and nice.
They're not scammers, but they're just... super disorganized.

I personally know this guy who had to wait for a long time...Volt even offered a refund, because it was already taking 5 weeks, and he was asking "when will my bike be ready?" they said "next week", and because he already wait for so long, he decided to wait 1 more week. And guess what? same thing happened... and he ended up waiting a bit more than 2 months.
 

Timpo

Well-Known Member
Yeah all good points. I don't think weight is a huge concern for me, most lifting I would do, would be into the back of the truck.
And yes removable battery is key for sure during the winter months.

My commute is about 12km one way, with an elevation gain of about 500' from work to home, so not subtle. I am about 220lbs and was previously a fairly strong cyclist. 2 kids has put a hold on that. But after a month or 2 of climbing that hill my skills would quickly return I'm guessing.
Battery options are 48v 10.4 AH stock or 48v 14AH for $200 extra.
I would not recommend Surface 604, just because it's not particularly a good deal considering the specs.

Also, the Surface 604's battery casing is Reention Dorado 440mm version, which, at this point, 48V 14Ah is absolute max you can go.
The Reention Dorado 505mm version is better, because with the 505mm, you can get the MAX version (if you decide in the future) and typically have the capacity of 48V 21Ah (I've seen 52V 21Ah as well)

Have you ever considered Amego Infinite Plus?

Amego is based in Toronto, Canada.

The silver on is out of stock, but they still have the black one.

 

steve mercier

Well-Known Member
All good advice above. You generally get what you pay for so it is more a matter of figuring out your wants and needs. I started with a $2000 bike that lasted 6000km before I had enough of the quirks and problems. I would say that if you just want to dip your toe into the water you can go cheap as starter bike ( such as an NCM on Amazon which I have in Winter seen as low as $1400 cdn ) and then you will learn on that bike and be better prepared for your next one ,OR you can try a bunch first and try to buy your keeper bike on the first swing. A reliable local bike shop with a good service department that can fix your steed is invaluable in the long run. The more expensive companies such as Trek ,Specialized, Giant etc will have stronger warranties too.