Scope creep! Cruising on dirt & forest service roads

terraunbound

New Member
Friends have the RadCity step-thru and RadRover. We went for a ride around Brainard Lake Recreation Area (before the snows arrived) ... me riding the step-thru; the Rover is way too tall for me. Up to the trail heads, around the parking lots, back down around the lake, over and over. I loved it! The RadCity is a potential ... but then I thought - maybe the RadMini would be perfect <$1500>. Then I start reading about hills and geared hub drives... so I look at the BIG THREE... and get immersed in mid-drives... maybe the Giant Explore + <$2500+> ... then eMTBs started creeping into the list <$3500+>. Yet, I have no intention of dropping off cliffs, riding the White Line, racing on single track, etc. Total scope creep. If I want to go gnarly, I'll get on my motorcycle.

The goal is to be able to ride and have fun, explore my bumpy little corner of heaven. There are plenty of dirt roads with rocks sticking up, small washed out gullies, etc to ride through/around, so yeah, the bike can't be a powder puff.

Questions:
For those who have HUB drive bikes, are climbs like I added as pics reasonable? I've pedaled on a regular bike the first route; the second route is a goal (2000 ft gain over 9 miles). How about rough dirt roads (and maybe Forest service roads if we're still allowed to next year)

For those with a MID-drive, I don't quite understand how pedal assist levels work. If I'm using the highest level of assist and a low gear (for going up a hill), then ... you get a lot of pull? Where does the torque sensor come in? It seems like each press of the assist button is like a throttle with pre-set levels of pull. Like I mentioned, I ride motorcycles too, so if those who ride both could help translate, I'm here to learn.

So my current list of potentials are: RadMini, RadCity, ... Giant Explore ... and other bikes that are available from local businesses (Bull, Aventon). I have no idea how to decide!
 

Attachments

  • 2020-11-30_22-56-28.jpeg
    2020-11-30_22-56-28.jpeg
    53.4 KB · Views: 53
  • 2020-11-28_19-04-49.jpeg
    2020-11-28_19-04-49.jpeg
    392.4 KB · Views: 53

linklemming

Well-Known Member
Friends have the RadCity step-thru and RadRover. We went for a ride around Brainard Lake Recreation Area (before the snows arrived) ... me riding the step-thru; the Rover is way too tall for me. Up to the trail heads, around the parking lots, back down around the lake, over and over. I loved it! The RadCity is a potential ... but then I thought - maybe the RadMini would be perfect <$1500>. Then I start reading about hills and geared hub drives... so I look at the BIG THREE... and get immersed in mid-drives... maybe the Giant Explore + <$2500+> ... then eMTBs started creeping into the list <$3500+>. Yet, I have no intention of dropping off cliffs, riding the White Line, racing on single track, etc. Total scope creep. If I want to go gnarly, I'll get on my motorcycle.

The goal is to be able to ride and have fun, explore my bumpy little corner of heaven. There are plenty of dirt roads with rocks sticking up, small washed out gullies, etc to ride through/around, so yeah, the bike can't be a powder puff.

Questions:
For those who have HUB drive bikes, are climbs like I added as pics reasonable? I've pedaled on a regular bike the first route; the second route is a goal (2000 ft gain over 9 miles). How about rough dirt roads (and maybe Forest service roads if we're still allowed to next year)

For those with a MID-drive, I don't quite understand how pedal assist levels work. If I'm using the highest level of assist and a low gear (for going up a hill), then ... you get a lot of pull? Where does the torque sensor come in? It seems like each press of the assist button is like a throttle with pre-set levels of pull. Like I mentioned, I ride motorcycles too, so if those who ride both could help translate, I'm here to learn.

So my current list of potentials are: RadMini, RadCity, ... Giant Explore ... and other bikes that are available from local businesses (Bull, Aventon). I have no idea how to decide!
I live in Louisville but have ridden offroad around nederland although not for a few years.

I have both mid-drives and hub drives. Hub drives have their advantages (best at higher speeds, cheaper) but really are not as well suited as mid-drives offroad but are great for the flatter 'plains trails' and/or commuting. I just built a very powerful hub drive but would never take it up to nederland unless I stuck to paved roads.

Being how rocky it is up there(for those not aware, nederland is the definition of ROCKY), I would just go with a full suspension.

Here is a pic from sourdough trail near brainard..., this is a 'mild' section. Sourdough trail is BRUTAL. Its an out and back trail but I always just do the other half on the road.
sourdough.jpg


The Giant Trance would be a good choice. I dont have a FS at this time but would pick a Giant Trance or a Specialized Levo for a FS bike (or perhaps a wattwagon hydra). I would also consider the haibike models with yamaha motors.

Maybe go to ebikes of colorado in louisville, they have qute a selection (although FS eMTBs are not their best sellers),

Torque based mid-drive pedal assist is simple...it simply boost the power you put into it by a set amount (i.e. you put in 100 watts at 1x assist, the bikes adds 100watts). It just gets better as you shift to lower gears although the assist level doesnt change.

FWIW, the ebikes I currently own

Bulls Evo3 27.5+ hardtail - nice brose mid drive, great for what I use it on. Can climb anything. 27.5+hardtail ebike is very versatile
iZIp Moda E3 - a 28mph rigid brose mid-drive speed pedelec commuter. Great for many of the plains trails I do from my house.
Juiced CCX - a powerful hub drive speed pedelec commuter. I used it as a gravel bike with MTB tires and was impressed with its speed. I wanted my own version (next bike). Will be sold soon.
DIY build - Surly Troll with 52V GMAC motor and torque sensor - most powerful ebike I own. I could do pretty steep stuff with it but just prefer mid-drives when the goin get steep
 
Last edited:

terraunbound

New Member
I live in Louisville but have ridden offroad around nederland although not for a few years.

I have both mid-drives and hub drives. Hub drives have their advantages (best at higher speeds, cheaper) but really are not as well suited as mid-drives offroad but are great for the flatter 'plains trails' and/or commuting. I just built a very powerful hub drive but would never take it up to nederland unless I stuck to paved roads.

Being how rocky it is up there(for those not aware, nederland is the definition of ROCKY), I would just go with a full suspension.

Here is a pic from sourdough trail near brainard..., this is a 'mild' section. Sourdough trail is BRUTAL. Its an out and back trail but I always just do the other half on the road.
View attachment 73101

The Giant Trance would be a good choice. I dont have a FS at this time but would pick a Giant Trance or a Specialized Levo for a FS bike (or perhaps a wattwagon hydra). I would also consider the haibike models with yamaha motors.

Maybe go to ebikes of colorado in louisville, they have qute a selection (although FS eMTBs are not their best sellers),

Torque based mid-drive pedal assist is simple...it simply boost the power you put into it by a set amount (i.e. you put in 100 watts at 1x assist, the bikes adds 100watts). It just gets better as you shift to lower gears.
Is that what the Sourdough looks like in the summer!? <kidding> I x-ctry ski it in the winter, and wear a helmet because I've fallen, hitting my head on those rocks. My plan was the motorized Forest service roads.. like going up to Rainbow Lakes trail head, which sometimes looks like this, just wider!

Thanks for the suggestions - maybe I need to readjust my expectations. I'll check out the shop ... later... with the current COVID weather here, I'm not going into stores much right now.
 

Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
Region
Europe
City
Brwinów (PL)
The Giant Trance would be a good choice. I dont have a FS at this time but would pick a Giant Trance or a Specialized Levo for a FS bike (or perhaps a wattwagon hydra). I would also consider the haibike models with yamaha motors.
I concur on Giant Trance E+ e-bikes (own the Trance E+ 2 Pro 2020). That e-bike would clear the trails as shown easily and safely.
Bad thing is the 2021 e-bikes of the e-MTB class got steep price increases. The U.S. Trance X E+ 29 Pro e-bikes start from $5000. Specialized Turbo Levo Comp 2021 is $6300. If I were to buy a FS e-MTB again, I wouldn't like to spend as much for the Levo, as -- in my opinion -- that e-bike is just too advanced.
 

terraunbound

New Member
Look ma! I learned how to add images!
My reason for adding these profiles is that I don't know how to compare my hilliness to your hilliness around the country. The awesome upgrade is that a 2000 foot elevation gain over 10 miles is the same performance anywhere , whether its VT, PA, CA, or CO - these are electric bikes, no carburetor!
2020-11-30_22-56-28.jpeg


2020-11-28_19-04-49.jpeg
 

linklemming

Well-Known Member
Is that what the Sourdough looks like in the summer!? <kidding> I x-ctry ski it in the winter, and wear a helmet because I've fallen, hitting my head on those rocks. My plan was the motorized Forest service roads.. like going up to Rainbow Lakes trail head, which sometimes looks like this, just wider!

Thanks for the suggestions - maybe I need to readjust my expectations. I'll check out the shop ... later... with the current COVID weather here, I'm not going into stores much right now.
I really think a mid-drive would suit you best up in the mountains.

I did xcountry ski sourdough 'once' thinking how fun it would be to do on skis after MTB it after moving to CO. I gave up on xcountry skiing after that and just stuck with downhill skiing.

Certainly check out other ebike shops. I bought my Bulls at small planet ebikes in longmont but they dont have much selection these days.
 

linklemming

Well-Known Member
I concur on Giant Trance E+ e-bikes (own the Trance E+ 2 Pro 2020). That e-bike would clear the trails as shown easily and safely.
FWIW, that trail is hard to capture in pictures. Its simply BRUTAL I doubt you could take more than a mile or two of it before stopping to rest due to mental overload. Its very demanding technically and just never stops, every single foot requires top notch mental technical ability. Maybe its gotten easier since I last rode it in 2007 (recent youtube videos look ALOT easier)

To the OP..I used to park in nederland and ride up caribou road till the trailhead and then take 128J/Forest Road 505 back. Forest Road 505 was just insane, I usually stopped 4 times just to rest (going downhill). I also did this on a honda xr400 many times.
 
Last edited:

terraunbound

New Member
I concur on Giant Trance E+ e-bikes (own the Trance E+ 2 Pro 2020). That e-bike would clear the trails as shown easily and safely.
Bad thing is the 2021 e-bikes of the e-MTB class got steep price increases. The U.S. Trance X E+ 29 Pro e-bikes start from $5000. Specialized Turbo Levo Comp 2021 is $6300. If I were to buy a FS e-MTB again, I wouldn't like to spend as much for the Levo, as -- in my opinion -- that e-bike is just too advanced.
Now we're back into scope creep. Honestly, that is too much bike and way out of my budget. Think dirt road in somewhat poor condition. I've tooled around on a hard-tail hybrid bicycle (no motor), but that was almost 20 years ago.
 

Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
Region
Europe
City
Brwinów (PL)
My reason for adding these profiles is that I don't know how to compare my hilliness to your hilliness around the country. The awesome upgrade is that a 2000 foot elevation gain over 10 miles is the same performance anywhere , whether its VT, PA, CA, or CO - these are electric bikes, no carburetor!
See this terraunbound:
1606808504177.png

If I -- with my ill legs -- could do the 17.9% grade climb on the Trance E+ 2 Pro, it simply indicates anyone could do that. (Your maximum grade in your example was 12.3%).

1606809296190.png

That trip was for 50 miles with 5000 ft elevation gain, mountain roads. My Vado 5.0 (mid-drive motor e-bike) could do it; my Trance E+ Pro ridden by my brother was even more suitable there.


You could contemplate buying a hard-tail e-MTB for smaller budget. Good mid-drive motor is highly recommended though.
 

terraunbound

New Member
FWIW, that trail is hard to capture in pictures. Its simply BRUTAL I doubt you could take more than a mile or two of it before stopping to rest due to mental overload. Its very demanding technically and just never stops, every single foot requires top notch mental technical ability.

To the OP..I used to park in nederland and ride up caribou road till the trailhead and then take 128J/Forest Road 505 back. Forest Road 505 was just insane, I usually stopped 4 times just to rest (going downhill)
Yeah - that's what I'm aiming for (Caribou Road)... not 505, its no fun even on a dirt bike and getting worse every year with no maintenance. You still would recommend mid-drive? because a hub-motor would ... (fill in the blank please? )
 

terraunbound

New Member
See this terraunbound:
View attachment 73104
If I -- with my ill legs -- could do the 17.9% grade climb on the Trance E+ 2 Pro, it simply indicates anyone could do that. (Your maximum grade in your example was 12.3%).

View attachment 73105
That trip was for 50 miles with 5000 ft elevation gain, mountain roads. My Vado 5.0 (mid-drive motor e-bike) could do it; my Trance E+ Pro ridden by my brother was even more suitable there.


You could contemplate buying a hard-tail e-MTB for smaller budget. Good mid-drive motor is highly recommended though.
I'm wondering ... if Giant is upgrading the Trance while bringing in the Fathom and Talon e+ as their lower-budget models. I'll have to compare the 2019 Trance specs with these new bikes. mmmm. tomorrow. I mean today but later. early morning meeting.
 

linklemming

Well-Known Member
Yeah - that's what I'm aiming for (Caribou Road)... not 505, its no fun even on a dirt bike and getting worse every year with no maintenance. You still would recommend mid-drive? because a hub-motor would ... (fill in the blank please? )
To the other guys adding to this...sourdough trail isnt really steep, its just rocky and technical......forever. Trust me, you 'will' take the road back as opposed to the same offroad trail twice

I would feel comfortable taking a hub-drive up caribou although I havnt ridden it in over 5 years. Im not a big fan of cadence only assist (like the radrover). YMMV

The thing with hub drive is...as you get steeper, you need to put in more human effort. I have ridden my Juiced CCX easily up 15%grades(1/4 mile) and up to 30% (limited distance..300ft) but with the realization of its limits. I can ride up 6% with a headwind at 24mph for a few miles on my juiced CCX without overheating.

With mid-drive, it just doesnt matter, I could ride my Bulls eBike up a 15+% grade till the battery died with no worries.

Would a radrover get up caribou road..most certainly, as you increase speed (maybe), increase speed more, probably not
 
Last edited:

Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
Region
Europe
City
Brwinów (PL)
I'm wondering ... if Giant is upgrading the Trance while bringing in the Fathom and Talon e+ as their lower-budget models. I'll have to compare the 2019 Trance specs with these new bikes. mmmm. tomorrow. I mean today but later. early morning meeting.
If you could still buy an older model that would fit the bill. Try to find a Pro model for the strong motor though.
 

PDoz

Well-Known Member
Look ma! I learned how to add images!
My reason for adding these profiles is that I don't know how to compare my hilliness to your hilliness around the country. The awesome upgrade is that a 2000 foot elevation gain over 10 miles is the same performance anywhere , whether its VT, PA, CA, or CO - these are electric bikes, no carburetor!
View attachment 73102

View attachment 73103

If you are certain to stick to gentle slopes like that, then the lower end mid drive bikes should be viable - think giant stance rather than trance.

You're not going to need the ( more expensive) extra range on the gears or the better quality brakes / suspension . You probably won't even need the more aggressive geometry of a trance.

The trance has a more powerful " pro" motor ( Yamaha pwx with 85nm instead of the sport with I think 70 ish) , to be honest I don't think that high torque is necessary unless you are tackling seriously technical trails

BUT - you mention scope creep. These bikes are incredibly capable and if you come from an off road motorbike background it's amazing how much of your motorbike riding can be replaced by a decent dual suspension emtb.
 

PDoz

Well-Known Member
For perspective, this trail climbs 260m in 1.9 km ( 850 feet in 1.2 miles - 4x as steep as the trail you linked) . It was a stinking hot day but I only used 300% assist ( my giant pwx can do 360% , but I tend not to use that because it's hard to keep the front wheel down) . My bike is a 2018 giant, only 11 speed and the geometry is closer to the stance than the trance- although the suspension is closer to trance quality.

I come from a ( dirt) motorbike background but have been using normal mountain bikes for about 10 years. I've barely ridden my motorbike since buying the giant.

5E1173A1-D5E0-4203-85C6-3496C82EC7AA.jpeg
 

linklemming

Well-Known Member
BUT - you mention scope creep. These bikes are incredibly capable and if you come from an off road motorbike background it's amazing how much of your motorbike riding can be replaced by a decent dual suspension emtb.
Very important to address scope creep. As we say in the software industry, the only customer who doesnt change what they want is a dead customer :cool:

For every sport/hobby I have been involved with (surfing/skating/windsurfing/kitesurfing/road cycling/MTB/sport bikes/skiing/dirt bikes etc...). I always spend more by being cheaper up front and then going thru an upgrade path.

These days, I just look down the upgrade path and get the best as a first step
 

PDoz

Well-Known Member
Very important to address scope creep. As we say in the software industry, the only customer who doesnt change what they want is a dead customer :cool:

For every sport/hobby I have been involved with (surfing/skating/windsurfing/kitesurfing/road cycling/MTB/sport bikes/skiing/dirt bikes etc...). I always spend more by being cheaper up front and then going thru an upgrade path.

These days, I just look down the upgrade path and get the best as a first step

Normally I'd agree with you, but there is a lot to be said for purchasing something designed for the intended use.

No point buying a ktm exc to circumnavigate the globe slowly unless you intend to explore every challenging trail and have the skill( or ego) to match. At this point I should probably be quiet....there's been way too many exotic motorbikes in my shed over the years....although in my defence there's been a fair mix of yamaha and honda.
 

pmcdonald

Well-Known Member
You still would recommend mid-drive? because a hub-motor would ...
...overheat or burn itself out with regular sustained climbing. My old geared hub would overheat on a relatively gentle 120m climb over about 1.5km. This was a good quality Dapu hub too. A mid drive can do this all day long, ask for seconds, then check if you need help with the taxes.

I've taken my Explore on some pretty rough tracks out of curiosity. My choice of tyres did me no favours but the bike and motor weren't ruffled.

If budget rules out a FS my vote is for a hardtail like the Fathom. And maybe a suspension seatpost. Each of the big brands will have their equivalent models.
 

reed scott

Well-Known Member
Very important to address scope creep. As we say in the software industry, the only customer who doesnt change what they want is a dead customer :cool:

For every sport/hobby I have been involved with (surfing/skating/windsurfing/kitesurfing/road cycling/MTB/sport bikes/skiing/dirt bikes etc...). I always spend more by being cheaper up front and then going thru an upgrade path.

These days, I just look down the upgrade path and get the best as a first step
Totally agree. This is an undeniable truism proved out over many years in my experience. 👍
 

Art Deco

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Selinsgrove
For perspective, this trail climbs 260m in 1.9 km ( 850 feet in 1.2 miles - 4x as steep as the trail you linked) . It was a stinking hot day but I only used 300% assist ( my giant pwx can do 360% , but I tend not to use that because it's hard to keep the front wheel down) . My bike is a 2018 giant, only 11 speed and the geometry is closer to the stance than the trance- although the suspension is closer to trance quality.

I come from a ( dirt) motorbike background but have been using normal mountain bikes for about 10 years. I've barely ridden my motorbike since buying the giant.

View attachment 73106
That pic defines " walk mode " .