Replacing stolen Como - what now?

AliciaM

Member
Region
USA
I‘m 45, a woman in average American shape, and have a kneecap that chronically dislocates. I used to ride traditional group road rides in my better-knee days, but thought those days were long gone. A pal introduced me to ebikes and it’s been life-changing. I can ride again! Sadly my fun Specialized Como 4.0 low step was stolen in an apartment complex bike cage burglary on Christmas. It’s worth replacing, but now that I’ve ridden a bit I‘m thinking a different bike might suit me better. I’d thought about a Vado SL, but they’re on a year long wait list and I can’t even find a small to test out. So, I’ve got a Goldilocks problem:

Things I liked about the Como:
- Torque sensing - it felt like it knew what I wanted when I wanted it. Telepathy!
- Beast on SF hills, I’d whizz past road cyclists
- Comfy as heck
- Took a beating - rough roads? Wet pavement? A little gravel? Muni tracks? No problem!

Things I didn’t like:
- Too heavy to pedal unassisted much of the time
- A little too upright
- Wide cornering
- Cumbersome in tight spaces, especially the apartment elevator, walking busy sidewalks, etc.
- Eco mode too powerful, I’d prefer a workout (now realizing I could have adapted via Mission Control)

Wants:
- Sportier with a decent number of gears for fitness riding
- Grocery getter - I rarely drive in the city and loved piling stuff on the rear rack or in panniers
- Wider wheelset - doesn’t have to be fat, but gravel wide or wider
- Safe brakes for SF hills
- Easier to get in and out of the apartment and elevator than the Como (I won’t be using that bike cage again. Angle grinders abound. )
- I’ll be using this to commute a short distance to the clinic, hit the park across town, and put more mileage on and hit the beach at Pacifica or head over the bridge to Salsalito.
- Repairable at the LBS. I can manage basics like changing a tire, installing a rack, or fixing a slipped chain, but bleeding brakes? Diagnosing battery problems? Nah.

Budget: up to 6k, but of course I’d prefer something more affordable. (I’m a nurse, not a programmer. ;)

Ideas:
- Specialized Vado SL: feels impossible in this shortage
- Gazelle T10+
- Liv Thrive
- Cannondale Neo
- I’ve even considered modifying a Creo to sit more upright, but it seems silly to weigh a road bike down with groceries. I’m worried it’ll be too aggressive geometry wise for my out of shape core, too.

Open to other ideas!
 

WattsUpDude

Well-Known Member
Yamaha Civante? In a size small, it’s only a tad over 40 pounds, it can accommodate more than 40mm tires without fenders or 38mm with fenders, Class 3 speed, really torquey at 70Nm for SF hills. There’s also the Cross Connect if you want flat bars and front suspension, fenders and rack included but has Class 1 speed.

I commute to SF from the Peninsula. I bought my Yamaha at The Bike Connection but doing a quick search looks like they don’t sell the brand anymore. They do however have bikes that use Yamaha motors so they can still service them if need be.
 

AliciaM

Member
Region
USA
Yamaha Civante? In a size small, it’s only a tad over 40 pounds, it can accommodate more than 40mm tires without fenders or 38mm with fenders, Class 3 speed, really torquey at 70Nm for SF hills. There’s also the Cross Connect if you want flat bars and front suspension, fenders and rack included but has Class 1 speed.
Thanks for the suggestions! I’m leaning toward flat bars. Those models look very promising; adding to the list. I don’t know a thing about Yamaha bikes. I’ll have to see if anyone in SF is carrying them.
 

FlatSix911

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Silicon Valley
Thanks for the suggestions! I’m leaning toward flat bars. Those models look very promising; adding to the list.
I don’t know a thing about Yamaha bikes. I’ll have to see if anyone in SF is carrying them.
Take a look at the flat bar models from Yamaha... they make solid bikes with excellent reliability.
Summary
  • A sleek commuter from Yamaha, a household brand name going for a balance of price, performance, efficiency, and a purist feel, for years they did their homework studying their applications on Haibike, Giant, etc, using data and analysis to make offerings of their own
  • The PW SE motor is smooth and very efficient, coupled with the protected PW-X display, it makes for an intuitive and enjoyable riding feel, measuring cadence, torque, and rear-wheel speed, this is complemented well by the hydraulic brakes and front suspension fork
  • A 3-year warranty and a dealer network that gets reimbursed for working on your bike which means much fewer customer issues on an already proven and reliable electric system, a perk some of the smaller brand names are still catching up to
  • Plastic was chosen for the fenders, pedals, and the rear LED light housing, the rear LED plastic housing has been known to get damaged in shipping and is in a vulnerable spot for loading, so take care working around it, although there is some plastic on the bike, it was likely chosen to keep the cost down

Yamaha Cross Core Review | ElectricBikeReview.com

Yamaha Cross Connect Review | ElectricBikeReview.com
 

Dewey

Well-Known Member
Tern HSD P9 Performance model. The folding handlebars and ability to stand it up vertically on its rack makes it a good candidate for elevators, the smaller wheels with wide tires would give you a lower center of gravity ideal for carrying groceries, and the P9 Performance model uses the Bosch Performance Line motor with 65nm torque which is going to be fine for San Francisco hill climbing. The P9 Performance model is only available at limited dealerships like New Wheel, Propel, and Clever Cycles, REI don’t carry it for example. Arleigh Greenwood, Twitter handle @bikeshopgirlcom, is the new Tern US marketing manager and could give you more info.
 

Luto

Active Member
Hi Alicia,

I used to ride a lot and I got the Moustache Gravel Dimanche 28.5, (Class 1). 40 pounds and without assists it is like a well packed touring bike. ( I ride 95% without assist, preparing for a 600 mile trip, so battery recharge will be a non issue.) Q factor is 185 though. They make a small frame too. Things that are good: High end components (Shimano GRX810), nice ride (geometry) and loves to plane at 90 cadence, can run up to 60mm tires. Things that are sub-optimal: strange rack fender mounting, minimum Q factor I can retrofit is 175, can't set the assist level unless one upgrades to Bosch Nylon system for 400.00+. I am preparing it for more hauling-camping with a Revelate Designs TerraPin 14 liter, etc. I have been doing some food hauling coming back from rides and I love the no rack pannier method, fast, tight and enough capacity. Got 1500 miles on it now and it is holding up very well. Just did a clean-lube today. Overall impressed and I think having the higher end components are paying off.

You might be waiting for that Specialized bike! I ordered my Moustache from the LBS (March 2020) and it arrived in 2 weeks because they are more obscure in USA. Shipped from Ontario Canada to Seattle. Best of luck.

PS: I don't mine the Class 1 cutting off at 17-18 mph because I can't go faster than that up hills for any major distance.
 

AliciaM

Member
Region
USA
Take a look at the flat bar models from Yamaha... they make solid bikes with excellent reliability.
Summary
  • A sleek commuter from Yamaha, a household brand name going for a balance of price, performance, efficiency, and a purist feel, for years they did their homework studying their applications on Haibike, Giant, etc, using data and analysis to make offerings of their own
  • The PW SE motor is smooth and very efficient, coupled with the protected PW-X display, it makes for an intuitive and enjoyable riding feel, measuring cadence, torque, and rear-wheel speed, this is complemented well by the hydraulic brakes and front suspension fork
  • A 3-year warranty and a dealer network that gets reimbursed for working on your bike which means much fewer customer issues on an already proven and reliable electric system, a perk some of the smaller brand names are still catching up to
  • Plastic was chosen for the fenders, pedals, and the rear LED light housing, the rear LED plastic housing has been known to get damaged in shipping and is in a vulnerable spot for loading, so take care working around it, although there is some plastic on the bike, it was likely chosen to keep the cost down

Yamaha Cross Core Review | ElectricBikeReview.com

Yamaha Cross Connect Review | ElectricBikeReview.com
Thanks for the info! I’ll see if I can find a local dealer.
 

AliciaM

Member
Region
USA
Hi Alicia,

I used to ride a lot and I got the Moustache Gravel Dimanche 28.5, (Class 1). 40 pounds and without assists it is like a well packed touring bike. ( I ride 95% without assist, preparing for a 600 mile trip, so battery recharge will be a non issue.) Q factor is 185 though. They make a small frame too. Things that are good: High end components (Shimano GRX810), nice ride (geometry) and loves to plane at 90 cadence, can run up to 60mm tires. Things that are sub-optimal: strange rack fender mounting, minimum Q factor I can retrofit is 175, can't set the assist level unless one upgrades to Bosch Nylon system for 400.00+. I am preparing it for more hauling-camping with a Revelate Designs TerraPin 14 liter, etc. I have been doing some food hauling coming back from rides and I love the no rack pannier method, fast, tight and enough capacity. Got 1500 miles on it now and it is holding up very well. Just did a clean-lube today. Overall impressed and I think having the higher end components are paying off.

You might be waiting for that Specialized bike! I ordered my Moustache from the LBS (March 2020) and it arrived in 2 weeks because they are more obscure in USA. Shipped from Ontario Canada to Seattle. Best of luck.

PS: I don't mine the Class 1 cutting off at 17-18 mph because I can't go faster than that up hills for any major distance.
I haven’t seen any of them around town. I imagine a test ride might be tough. Sounds like a fantastic bike!!!
 

AliciaM

Member
Region
USA
Well, darn. According to the Yamaha website there are only two dealers in all of California, none in SF.
 

Luto

Active Member
I haven’t seen any of them around town. I imagine a test ride might be tough. Sounds like a fantastic bike!!!
I know, Your closest dealer is Santa Barbara. I bought the 29.3 first after a 5 minute test ride. (After 2 hours on a bunch of the RM and Gazelles). Took it home. Wife rode it and would not give it up. So I ordered the 29.5. I think it is a good compromise to the suspension R&M, Gazelles, weighing over 50 pounds and the lighter weight carbon road bikes. I have been using Crank Brothers flats but will be getting clipless for cleats, plus ultralight RH tires that ride like tubulars, which should be a huge upgrade.

Also forgot to mention, something you might have just assumed. The position of the battery and the center of gravity makes a big difference in the ride. The Specialized does a good job as does Moustache. So maybe take that into account if your switch to a new brand.
 

Dewey

Well-Known Member

dblhelix

Well-Known Member
First of all, so sorry your bike was stolen. What do you plan to do in the future to prevent a repeat incident?

While I live in the DC area, I had a positive service experience at The New Wheel. Solid dealer. You are lucky to have them in the area.

What do you mean by LBS? A very local bike shop that will take care of everything short of a Bosch-specific problem (for which you might go to dealer of origin?) Here come my two cents. I’ve owned a Tern (Bosch) for 3.5 yrs. Except for the display/battery/motor, everything can be worked on by myself, or if I’m feeling lazy, a local bike shop with mechanics I trust. Since the Bosch components have been trouble-free, the dealer of origin has never seen the bike and never saw a warranty claim.

OTOH, I also own a “premium” ebike. Unlike Tern, the bike manufacturer has no presence in the US. There are three main warranties: Bosch, the drivetrain ((Rohloff IGH) and the manufacturer. When something goes wrong, the downtime is significant. Let me give you an example. I purchased a rear brake rotor for replacement — absurdly expensive, btw, due to the Rohloff hub. Next, I read that I need a new gasket for an unrelated item: the E-14 electronic transmission. OK, but my LBS couldn’t order it! Only “dealers” can order a paper gasket that needs to be replaced on your way to a standard service item that any LBS should be able to handle. You should not have to deal with two different shops to do something simple.

This is so absurd that I’m just going to cut my own paper gasket. However, another delay I‘m experiencing is a cable problem with the E-14, the error first appearing the Friday after Thanksgiving. It looks like a cable break of the sort one routinely experiences with Apple products/charging cables. All signs point to absurdly long continued downtime, so I’m considering a soldering gun and making a video of an attempt to fix it myself. That’s how tired I am of the excessive downtime. If I fail, I’ll convert the bike to a mechanical Rohloff.

Im not recommending a particular brand — there are many good recommendations in this thread. I would prioritize a brand with a solid footprint in the US Like Specialized, Trek, Tern and others. Second, I would print out the specs and take them to my favorite LBS/mechanic and ask: beyond the display, battery and motor, can you handle everything else? Finally, I would only purchase from a very local dealer. I know that’s difficult for some people, so if you don’t have this privilege, ask dealer what the service plan is. Is there a local affiliate they can work with? This sort of thing.

Have fun tomorrow!
 

indianajo

Well-Known Member
Specialized como & vado are pretty high on the "instant resale" list. since their waiting list is so long. Perhaps some model a little less popular? First other electric bike I saw here was a Pedego fat tire with purple wheels. The guy chased me down and asked me to look for his stolen bike. My girly green model with 2.1" bog standard tires has not had any theft attempts on it. I leave it cabled to grocery cart racks, power poles on the street, or gas meters behind restaurants, all the time. I do use a stainless steel 1/2" sling for locking up, which no thief has messed with yet in 3 years.
You said you needed a small frame. Liv on your list is an indicator that perhaps you are small.
I tried carrying groceries on standard bikes for 10 years, and it put me over the handlebars on my chin 5 times. A stretch frame cargo bike has solved that problem, but at a cost of not fitting on bus racks. The front tire needs to be weighed down. Having actual ruts, trenches, potholes, and valve holes in our streets, I refuse to consider 20" tire solutions. SF pavement may be more predictable, but with cable car tracks I doubt it.
If a cargo bike would fit in your elevator, you should consider kona, m2s, magnum, blix, yuba, xtracycle. My yuba bodaboda with 26" wheels is about 82" long with the front straight ahead. A 24" tire blix packa would presumably be shorter. 22" radwagon is shorter still, but the tires cannot be bought aftermarket. Besides the numerous complaints about rad on "known problems" thread. Tern GSD is the most popular 20" model, but I certainly don't want one. BTW I'm male, 160 lb, with 28" legs & 30" arms, age 70, so I ride the small woman's yubabike with 24 speeds, which they don't sell anymore.
I ride in a hilly area, there were 77 hills when I rode 27 miles to summer camp and now there are 30 miles and more hills. I do fine with 140 mm cable pull tektro brakes, which require only a 5 mm wrench to adjust, plus a flat screwdriver to change pads. If you find the force too high, use 5" handles instead of the 3.5" OEM ones. 3.5" handles are designed to move you into the more profitable hydraulic model, instead of stopping the bike as is. Another brake trick, cheap models come with chewing gum wrappers for cables. Use clarks or jaguar SS slick cables to avoid adjusting cables more than once. A $6000 bike should come with the good ones. (the bodaboda did, also SRAM shifters, 100% better than 7 speed shimano).
Diagnosis: I electrified my bike myself and threw away a couple of garbage batteries before it worked, fine, without further analyziing anything. I have put 6000 miles on it since I used a meter. Bottom line, don't buy batteries from amazon or ebay, use luna ebikeling or california. If you really want to discourage thieves, put a messy $840 kit on a pedal pusher envoy mongoose ($700) with no display. Few people even realize my bike is electric, with the battery captured in an aluminum frame wrapped in a green plastic bag. Plus a geared hubmotor, I changed out the worn out one (4500 miles) in 2 afternoons without waiting for a shop to do anything. Since it doesn't drag unpowered, the worn out motor was ridden home 27 miles without power, no tow truck or AAA required.
Torque sensing is really nice. It is not on cargo bikes yet. Take your choice - I dont like the pitching off part of MTB's. I think maybe I can adapt a torque sensor to feed parallel the throttle input on my bike with lunabike mac12 kit, but stay tuned, all my meters were stolen 9/14 and I'm not doing anything creative with electronics right now.
Happy shopping and later, riding.
 
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Art Deco

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Selinsgrove
My guess is that after riding a Como, you may be a little harder to please on the non performance related parts of the ebike experience ... things like geometry, aesthetics, ergonomics, fit and finish, etc. are things that Specialized seems to do quite well compared to some others.
This is strictly my own non expert opinion, and you know about opinions on the internet, especially since I ride a Como.
 

FlatSix911

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Silicon Valley
Thanks a bunch! I have an appt for test rides with New Wheel tomorrow. Maybe they’ll have one I can try.
Since you are in the Bay Area, you may want to take a look at Bicycle Blue Book... they have some deals on hard to find like-new & used models. ;)

2020 Specialized turbo creo sl comp For Sale - 37956 - BicycleBlueBook.com

2020 Specialized Creo SL S-Works Carbon For Sale - 38940 - BicycleBlueBook.com

marketListingPTP_39258_8c5ljs.png
 

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AliciaM

Member
Region
USA
I would prioritize a brand with a solid footprint in the US Like Specialized, Trek, Tern and others. Second, I would print out the specs and take them to my favorite LBS/mechanic and ask: beyond the display, battery and motor, can you handle everything else? Finally, I would only purchase from a very local dealer. I know that’s difficult for some people, so if you don’t have this privilege, ask dealer what the service plan is. Is there a local affiliate they can work with? This sort of thing.
Thank you! Yes, this was exactly my concern with recommendations that don't have dealers in SF. For example, I bought my Como from a Specialized Dealer, Velocipede, and I have no doubt those guys can handle anything I throw at them. If they can't another shop in the city can. Same goes for Giant or some of the other common brands. Even Dost and Bulls have a fairly significant footprint here, but I still worry about them being simply brands carried rather than being fully supported.